This post is part of a series recommending longform, narrative nonfiction (as well as other worthwhile writings).
No two people live identical lives. No two people face all of the same hardships and challenges. Every life has its own giants.
Each story recommended below is about an individual (or individuals) who face or avoid their giants in unique and powerful ways.
The Doctor by James Verini, The Atavist
A Catholic doctor in Southern Sudan is the only surgeon for thousands of miles. Every day, he rises for mass and then works for hours upon hours, treating patients whose bodies have been torn apart, limbs blown off. The doctor could leave, he could go anywhere else to treat patients, but he stays. This piece answers the question of why.
If you’ve heard of the Frontline documentary series, My Brother’s Bomber, you’re probably familiar with the story line of this multi-media piece. This piece uses audio recordings, music, video, photography, and the written word to tell Ken Dornstein’s story of wrestling with the loss of his older brother in the Pan Am Flight 103 bombing of December 1988.
The Truth About New York’s Legendary Mole People by Anthony Taille, Narrative.ly
Don’t be distracted by the somewhat clickbait-y title. This piece is a work of literary reported art, rich with detail and fact. All about the hidden population that have made New York’s underground their home, this piece takes the reader into the world beneath, introducing the young mother who’s trying to get her feet under her so she can get her own place and get her daughter back, the woman in her 50s whose underground lair is piled with bags full of recyclables — her livelihood — the father who, when his child comes to visit, rents an apartment for the week so he won’t look like a bum.
What have you read lately that moved or inspired you?