More Than It Hurts You

Now available
ISBN-10: 0525950702
ISBN-13: 978-0525950707


The acclaimed author of Chang and Eng returns with a literary showstopper— a beautifully realized novel that at its heart is the story of a woman who will risk everything to feel something; a doctor whose diagnosis brings her entire life into question; and a man who suddenly realizes that being a good husband and a good father can no longer comfortably coexist.

Josh Goldin was savoring a Friday afternoon break in the coffee room, harmlessly flirting with coworkers while anticipating the weekend at home where his wife, Dori, waited with their eight-month-old son, Zack. And then Josh’s secretary rushed in, using words like intensive care, lost consciousness, blood...

That morning, Dori had walked into the emergency room with her son in severe distress. Enter Dr. Darlene Stokes: an African-American physician and single mother whose life is dedicated both to her own son and navigating the tricky maze of modern-day medicine. But something about Dori stirred the doctor’s suspicions. Darlene had heard of the sensational diagnosis of Munchausen by Proxy, where a mother intentionally harms her baby, but had never come upon a case of it before. It was rarely diagnosed and extraordinarily controversial. Could it possibly have happened here?

As their four lives intersect with dramatic consequences, Darlene, Dori, and Josh are pushed to their breaking points as they confront the nightmare that has become their new reality. Darin Strauss’s extraordinary novel is set in a world turned upside down—where doctors try to save babies from their parents, police use the law to tear families apart, and the people you know the best end up surprising you the most.



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an excerpt from
More Than It Hurts You
Darin Strauss


The question for Josh had always been: how much blindness does a happy life require? Josh had grown up watching the Mr. Magoo show, in which a wealthy man took on the difficulty of failed eyesight by sallying into the world as if everything were fine: he walked off the edge of a girder (the hardhats pointing, yelling, panicking). But right as he stepped into space, some crane swung an I-beam up under his shoes. Or he would saunter into an animal pen, mistaking it for a doctor’s office, and caress a tiger in the belief that he was petting a kitten—and the jungle beast would purr and nuzzle. If Josh could just mosey through his days like Magoo through a room, narrowly avoiding the furniture of human faults, wasn’t there a chance the world might be flattered, and agree with him, and transform itself into a series of blessings? But if that worked, it led to another question, one he hadn’t thought about before: What sort of life did that become?


A greater sin than emotional blindness is to play at love without purpose, to be caught just visiting the highpoints of your own existence. Josh loved Dori honestly—faithfully and blindly. And that was the reason he failed to avoid this strange shipwreck of his family life.


The police had arrived at 7:30am on a Monday. Josh’d had his dress shirt open, a tie flapping, unknotted, like a scarf. (Coffee made Josh sweat through his shirt.) His doorbell rang; the baby started to clap and laugh. Josh said, “Shh—hey, cool it, buddy,” which in hindsight felt the most excruciatingly mean thing he’d ever say to anyone. In the doorway stood a policeman with a mid-career softness at his middle. What can you do when a cop gets in your face with his arrogant nose? What can a father do when the police have legal authority to kidnap his son?