We All Need to Eat, is a new collection of linked stories from award-winning author Alex Leslie that revolve around Soma, a young Queer woman in Vancouver, chronicling her attempts to come to grips with herself, her family and her sexuality.
Set in different moments falling between Soma's childhood and her late thirties, each story—bold and varying in its approach to narrative—presents a sea change in Soma's life, from Soma becoming addicted to weightlifting while going through a break-up in her thirties; to her complex relationship with her younger brother after she leaves home revealed over the course of a long family chicken dinner; to Soma's struggles to cope with her mother's increasing instability by becoming fixated on buying her a lamp for seasonal affective disorder; and the far-reaching impact and lasting reverberations of Soma's family's experience of the Holocaust as it scrapes up against the rise of Alt Right media. Lyrical, gritty and atmospheric, Soma's stories refuse to shy away from the contradictions inherent to human experience, exploring one young person's journey through mourning, escapism, and the search for nourishment.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Alex Leslie’s rhythmic short-story collection creates a kaleidoscopic portrait of queer Vancouverite Soma. Soma’s stories include growing up with a mentally ill mother, coping with a friend’s suicide, and dealing with heartbreak by oversharing and exercising compulsively; we also learn about the character’s grandmother’s experience as a Jewish woman living in Canada during the Holocaust. Leslie gives Soma a spiky, specific voice, making We All Need to Eat ring very, very true. This is what life in our often-hostile, divisive, and always-on digital world feels like.