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Tragedy and comedy intertwined in witty ‘Quietly Hostile’

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‘Quietly Hostile: Essays’By Samantha Irbyc.2023, Vintage$17/304 pages You know from the get-go that “Quietly Hostile,” essayist, television writer and humorist Samantha Irby’s fourth essay collection, is filled to the brim with the author’s mordant wit, cynicism and empathy.

Who else but Irby, 43, who has struggled with depression, would write: “This book is dedicated to Zoloft”? There are zillions of essay collections.

But few are as memorable, poignant, funny (sometimes grossly, in a good way) and heart-filled (a term Irby might hate) as “Quietly Hostile” This long-awaited collection is filled with what Irby would call “good shit”: from hilarious descriptions of her bad dog in doggie day care to bits about, literally, shit, (that will gross you out, but reduce your shame about pooping).

Irby, who is Black and bisexual, grew up in poverty in Evanston, Ill. Her parents died when she was 18 (her mother from multiple sclerosis; her father, who gambled, likely, suffered from post traumatic stress disorder).

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