The Darling

Ploughshares | October 2020

Margaretta was sitting on the topmost step of her front porch, in a faded pastel-colored sun-dress, barefoot, elbows on her knees, chin in her hands—lost in thought, I surmised—when I first went to see her. Her husband was in the front yard, his hands on his hips, surveying the sky, where dark rain clouds were gathering from the east—where Margaretta was from, where I was also from. Neither one of them had seen me, coming up the walk. But they would not have been looking out for me—I was not expected. Margaretta had told me to “drop in sometime,” and when I’d asked her when would be convenient, she’d said carelessly, and gaily—charmingly—“Oh, any time at all! We’re always at home.” [purchase the e-book or autumn 2020 issue of Ploughshares to read more of this retelling of Chekhov's "The Darling" that is also a story of a long and winding friendship]


Outpost19 | 2016

"Michelle Herman's beautifully written and wise novel probes the crucial and enduring questions of how we choose our paths in life. Her naive heroine marries in haste and learns, at leisure, the many facets of love, its disappointments as well as its unexpected rewards. A pleasure to read." Lynne Sharon Schwartz


MacAdam/Cage, Outpost19 reprint | 2005, 2016

“Phil the dog is one of the most admirable and engaging male characters you are likely to encounter between the pages of a book this year. His relations with the woman who has the good fortune to share his life are handled with exemplary insight, delicacy, and humor.”J.M. Coetzee

Like A Song

Outpost19 | 2015

"A collection of six quietly transgressive essays about music that ultimately asks, Why speak when you can sing?"O Magazine

A new essay collection from Outpost19. And it’s one of O Magazine‘s (April 2015) “Ten Titles to Pick Up Now.”

Stories We Tell Ourselves

Sightline Books: The Iowa Series in Literary Nonfiction | 2013

“This persistently amusing and endearingly eccentric book demonstrates the elasticity and élan of the personal essay in the hands of a consummate practitioner, as well as the plentiful resources of its author’s consciousness.”Phillip Lopate

The Middle of Everything

University of Nebraska Press | 2013

"Honest, brave, and humbling, Michelle Herman's account of striving to become the mother her child the story of every woman dedicated to sparing her child the pain of her own youth. We want to believe that love doesn't make mistakes, but Michelle Herman knows the truth: like water, love assumes the shape of the vessel, always imperfect, that holds it." Kathryn Harrison

A Girl’s Guide to Life

Thought Catalog Books | 2017

"Sensible, subtle, loving advice tells girls how to be brave and happy and to do right...."Lore Segal

A Girl’s Guide to Life is a timeless book of warm and sensible advice for young girls, originally written by a mother for her own eight-year-old daughter. From compassion and empathy through self-expression and creativity, from thoughtfulness and helpfulness and good deeds through gratitude and heartfelt apology, from the incomparable joys of friendship to the importance of learning how and when to say no, this little book offers wise counsel that will be of use for many years to come.

A New and Glorious Life

Carnegie Mellon Short Fiction Series | 1998

"In A New and Glorious Life Michelle Herman looks with intelligence, sympathy, and wit at the lives of a wide range of contemporary men and women--some of them eventually glorious and others sad but holding their own."Alison Lurie


Ohio State University Press | 1991

"Missing may be about gradual recognitions, but these are no less full for Rivke's (or the reader's) waiting. Herman's resonant characterization doesn't relegate her heroine's existential woes to the problems of old age. At one point Rivke thinks, like someone seventy years her junior, 'I don't know what to do with my life' . . . . The novel's achievement is that her sad life is handled with such seriousness and sympathy that it is nearly impossible to remain unmoved."Voice Literary Supplement

Eighty-nine-year-old Rivke Vasilevsky discovers her crystal beads missing and becomes lost in a reverie in which she attempts to make sense of all that has happened to her in her life.

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All of Us

Amazon Digital Services LLC | 2017

A new short story by novelist and essayist Michelle Herman, originally published in Conjunctions.

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Dream Life

Kindle Edition | 2011

"The paradox of this piece is that Herman admits that most people aren't interested in hearing about each other's dreams, and yet she pulls readers by the hand into her dream life, and her waking life, neither of which escape analysis. But she remains engaging by forcing the random, obscure, and unshapen nature of dreams (and life) into a compelling story."Paul Diamond

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