From the archives: Dani Shaprio ponders marriage in 'Hourglass'

A woman smiles and poses with a book
Dani Shapiro talks with Kerri Miller for Talking Volumes on Friday. "Hourglass" is Shapiro’s memoir about marriage.
Tom Campbell | MPR

Dani Shapiro uses her memoir, "Hourglass: Time, Memory, Marriage" as a way to explore the motivations behind marriage.

"When I was writing 'Hourglass' I thought of it as an inquiry," Shapiro said to MPR host Kerri Miller during a 2017 conversation.

Shapiro was thoughtful in her characterization of her marriage, but not dishonest. Her husband is also a writer, and she reported that she would read him pages of her manuscript every day.

One day, he said to her, "I'm an OK guy, but you're not being hard enough on me."

And she knew exactly what he meant.

"I knew he was right. I was being too careful. I was being circumspect, and circumspect does not make for good literature ever," said Shapiro.

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Enjoy this throwback conversation between Shapiro and Miller as you prepare for this Friday’s Big Books and Bold Ideas, which will feature Shapiro on stage for Talking Volumes, discussing her new novel, “Signal Fires.”


  • Dani Shapiro is a bestselling novelist and memoirist and host of the podcast Family Secrets.

To listen to the full conversation you can use the audio player above. 

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