Hourglass: Time, Memory, Marriage

“A searing, pared-down narrative. A love story through and through. Shapiro’s retelling of her marriage is both distinctive and painfully relatable.”



“A gorgeous, poetic stay against loss and confusion. Shapiro has never written anything as raw, dark, or brave as Hourglass.”

The Boston Globe


A clear-eyed inspection of the slow cracks certain to develop in a long marriage… Shapiro dramatizes the dizzying ways a lifetime passes, loops around, speeds up and sometimes seems to stand still.

Maureen Corrigan on NPR’s Fresh Air


“Shapiro brings her trademark grace and candor to this poignant of her marriage and of her hopes — and concerns — for her family’s future.



 “Gorgeous, stunning, extraordinary—life changing.”

Will Schwalbe


“Searing…beautifully drawn… Hourglass is a lovely reminder that one of the most profound decisions we make is whom we love and whom we choose to continue to love in a lifetime.”



“Honest and tender… Shapiro’s marriage to M. is a beautiful thing.  As is this book.  Hourglass might already be a classic.”


An insightful, exquisite, deep dive into a marriage…Thanks to Shapiro’s tender mastery of her story and her craft, “Hourglass” yields a rare combination of lyrical writing and startling, sometimes disturbing insights.

Christian Science Monitor


“Thoroughly transcendent… in Shapiro’s virtuosic hands, time compresses and expands — an accordion playing the sorrowful yet redemptive melody that is life.


One of the most striking things about Hourglass, in fact, is just how true it rings…it offers an honesty and an intimacy that’s rare, even in a memoir. 


“Hourglass” is insightful, compassionate, intelligent, and graceful. It bravely illuminates Shapiro’s long-term relationship, and thus our own relationships, contemplating how our lives evolve, separately and together, when those lives don’t turn out as we planned, or we don’t turn out as we planned. Shapiro speaks honestly about this rarely examined topic.

LA Daily News


Imbued with tender revelations, “Hourglass” considers the ever-changing nature of love and identity… a deeply moving work that is simultaneously an intimate and universal reflection on marriage.


 Clarity and beauty… Hourglass is not only a profound and moving reflection on Shapiro’s marriage, but on all marriages.”


 “A Calder mobile-like memoir that spins on its own inventive, beautifully crafted apparatus. A work of art.


“Finely tuned, poetic… A sharply observed and frequently moving memoir of a marriage.” 


“As always, Dani Shapiro’s prose is elegant and crystal clear, the perfect vehicle for her fierce intelligence and curiosity about things that lurk just out of view. Hourglass is such a lovely book.”

Richard Russo


“Touching and intimate… Shapiro beautifully weaves together her own moving language and a commonplace book’s worth of perfect quotes from others.”

Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)


“Shapiro’s portrait of her marriage, 18 years in, is a testament to how time can change but also heal you.”


“Compassionate, insightful, and powerfully honest, in Hourglass Dani Shapiro illuminates the deepest mysteries, contradictions, and consolations of so very much—love, memory, the people we used to be and the people we’ve become. In other words: life. I was absorbed by Hourglass and consoled by it too. It’s a beautiful book by a writer of rare talent. It has the ring of truth.”

Cheryl Strayed


“Reading this book was like skating across a perfect piece of ice and then slowly noticing the cracks. Dark, cold water shows through. We can’t see the depths. Be careful, Shapiro warns, be careful, but still she skates on in the fading light with remarkable beauty and grace.”

Jenny Offill

“Rilke reminds us that “there are multitudes of people, but there are many more faces, because each person has several of them”. And how do we, moment after elusive moment, marry then continue to change and grow yet still accommodate these multitudes in one another? This is just one of the piercingly compelling questions Dani Shapiro explores in her masterfully rendered new memoir. Written with erudition, hard-earned wisdom, and sensual grace, Hourglass is a fearless and lovely mosaic of those very fragments that make a life worth living, the only one we get. I adore this book.”

Andre Dubus III