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Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
Flash Count Diary

Flash Count Diary

Menopause and the Vindication of Natural Life

Darcey Steinke

Sarah Crichton Books

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“Many days I believe menopause is the new (if long overdue) frontier for the most compelling and necessary philosophy; Darcey Steinke is already there, blazing the way. This elegant, wise, fascinating, deeply moving book is an instant classic. I’m about to buy it for everyone I know.” —Maggie Nelson, author of The Argonauts

A brave, brilliant, and unprecedented examination of menopause

Menopause hit Darcey Steinke hard. First came hot flashes. Then insomnia. Then depression. As she struggled to understand what was happening to her, she slammed up against a culture of silence and sexism. Some books promoted hormone replacement therapy. Others encouraged accepting the coming crone. Beyond that, there was little that offered a path to understanding menopause in a complex, spiritual, and intellectually engaged way. She felt lost until she encountered a scientific fact that had escaped her through the early stages of dealing with this life change: the only two creatures on earth that go through menopause, she discovered, are human women and female killer whales.

Her fascination with this fact became the starting point for Flash Count Diary, a powerful exploration into aspects of menopause that have rarely been written about, including the changing gender landscape that reduced levels of hormones brings, the actualities of transforming desires, and the realities of prejudice against older women. Steinke learned that in the seventeenth century women who had hot flashes in front of oth… More…

“Many days I believe menopause is the new (if long overdue) frontier for the most compelling and necessary philosophy; Darcey Steinke is already there, blazing the way. This elegant, wise, fascinating, deeply moving book is an instant classic. I’m about to buy it for everyone I know.” —Maggie Nelson, author of The Argonauts

A brave, brilliant, and unprecedented examination of menopause

Menopause hit Darcey Steinke hard. First came hot flashes. Then insomnia. Then depression. As she struggled to understand what was happening to her, she slammed up against a culture of silence and sexism. Some books promoted hormone replacement therapy. Others encouraged accepting the coming crone. Beyond that, there was little that offered a path to understanding menopause in a complex, spiritual, and intellectually engaged way. She felt lost until she encountered a scientific fact that had escaped her through the early stages of dealing with this life change: the only two creatures on earth that go through menopause, she discovered, are human women and female killer whales.

Her fascination with this fact became the starting point for Flash Count Diary, a powerful exploration into aspects of menopause that have rarely been written about, including the changing gender landscape that reduced levels of hormones brings, the actualities of transforming desires, and the realities of prejudice against older women. Steinke learned that in the seventeenth century women who had hot flashes in front of others could be accused of being witches, that the model of Marcel Duchamp's famous Étant donnés was a post-reproductive woman, and that seeing whales in the wild can lead to orcagasms. Flash Count Diary takes readers from Brooklyn to the red light district in Amsterdam, and finally to a watery encounter with a wild killer-whale matriarch in Washington State’s Salish Sea. Flash Count Diary will change the way you think about menopause. It’s a deeply feminist book, honest about the intimations of mortality that menopause signals but also an argument for the ascendency, beauty, and power of the post-reproductive years in women’s lives.

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Praise for Flash Count Diary

“Meticulously researched and passionately written, Flash Count Diary examines the shame and stigma attached to female aging so closely that their opposites are revealed. Steinke posits menopause as a channel through which new realms of possibility, depth, strength and growth can be revealed. An inspiring and visionary book.” —Chris Kraus, author of After Kathy Acker

“For what Darcey Steinke has just taught me about my own body—all of our bodies—I will love her eternally. After readings bits of Flash Count Diary aloud to my twelve-year-old, she confided in me, ‘I can’t wait for menopause.’ This fearless and fiercely intelligent book needs to be read by every woman, man, and child as it explores and explodes ideas about aging, desire, our wildness, and our wonder.” —Samantha Hunt, author of The Dark Dark: Stories

“Part memoir, part manifesto, part natural history, this book is a profound white-knuckle ride through unnamed territories.” —Jenny Offill, author of Dept. of Speculation

“Many days I believe menopause is the new (if long overdue) frontier for the most compelling and necessary philosophy; Darcey Steinke is already there, blazing the way. This elegant, wise, fascinating, deeply moving book is an instant classic. I’m about to buy it for everyone I know.” —Maggie Nelson, author of The Argonauts

Darcey Steinke

Darcey Steinke is the author of the memoir Easter Everywhere and the novels Milk, Jesus Saves, Suicide Blonde, Up Through the Water, and Sister Golden Hair. With Rick Moody, she edited Joyful Noise: The New Testament Revisited. Her books have been translated into ten languages, and her nonfiction has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, The Boston Review, Vogue, Spin, The Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, and The Guardian. She has been both a Henry Hoyns Fellow and a Stegner Fellow as well as a writer in residence at the University of Mississippi, and has taught at the Columbia University School of the Arts, Barnard, the American University of Paris, and Princeton.