Casey N. Cep on Ariel Levy’s ‘Thanksgiving in Mongolia’


Casey N. Cep is a writer from the Eastern Shore of Maryland. She has written for The New York Times, The New Yorker, and The Paris Review.

There is a kind of loss that our culture does not yet understand. The death of a child is the worst tragedy we can imagine, yet we lack understanding for the hundreds of thousands of women who miscarry every year. Miscarriages are an invisible loss for most women, one they suffer by themselves. Imagine the courage, then, that Ariel Levy summoned to write “Thanksgiving in Mongolia.” She not only shares her experience of pregnancy, but also her miscarriage and the sorrow that followed it. Part travelogue, part memoir, and part grief narrative, the essay is remarkable from its opening memories of Levy’s own childhood to its heartbreaking ending: “But the truth is, the ten or twenty minutes I was somebody’s mother were black magic.”

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