Marya is currently at work on her sixth and seventh books.
The first, which will be released by Houghton Mifflin in 2017, is the product of four years' exhaustive research and travel to answer the question: How do we approach the global crisis in mental health? In addition to conducting more than 500 interviews—with psychiatric professionals, neuroscientists, policymakers, and more—Marya focuses on ten people with mental health concerns who are finding new ways to heal, live, and thrive. Along the way, this book explores how science, medicine, and society must collaborate to create a future of mental health, healing, and hope.
Marya's seventh book is also in the works. A collection of essays that explores the experience of solitude, this book travels from a hotel in Las Vegas to an isolated highway in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, moves from the art of Georgia O'Keefe to the poetry of Elizabeth Bishop, and searches out the meaning, and the importance, of solitude in our lives.
“Hornbacher is a virtuoso writer."
— New York Times
In 1998, at age twenty-four, Marya Hornbacher published the Pulitzer Prize–nominated, best-selling Wasted: A Memoir of Anorexia and Bulimia. Now, still a young woman, Hornbacher tells the story that until recently she had no idea was hers to tell: that of her life with Type I ultra-rapid-cycle bipolar disorder, the most severe form of bipolar disease.
In Madness, Hornbacher relates that bipolar can spawn eating disorders, substance abuse, promiscuity, and self-mutilation, and that for too long these symptoms have masked, for many of the three million people in America with bipolar, their underlying illness. Hornbacher’s fiercely self-aware portrait of bipolar, starting as early as age four, will surely powerfully change the current debate over whether bipolar can begin in childhood.
Through scenes of astonishing visceral and emotional power, she takes us inside her own desperate attempts to counteract violently careening mood swings. How Hornbacher fights her way up from a madness that all but destroys her, and what it is like to live in a difficult and sometimes beautiful life and marriage—where bipolar always beckons—is at the center of this brave and heart-stopping memoir.
“[She] tiptoes along the same high wire as Plath, Lowell, Woolf…Her talent has created a third self, an appealing, rueful narrator who can look back on three decades of manic-depressive illness, much of it untreated, and spin a story that is almost impossible to put down.”
— New York Times
“Hooks readers from the start…As [Hornbacher] whips around this rollercoaster ride, her unflinching style keeps us firmly seated beside her.”
“…has the same intimately revelatory and shocking emotional power that marked Wasted.”
— USA Today
“In staccato bursts of present tense [Hornbacher] makes us inhabit her brain and experience the extremes of her highs and lows, which are not mood swings as much as all-engulfing tsunami waves. Hornbacher is so gifted a writer that I was more than willing to go along for the ride.”
— Minneapolis Star-Tribune
“[H]eartbreaking…both disturbing and deeply moving, giving true insight into what it’s like to live with this most stubbornly intransigent of mental disorders. Followers of Wasted…will clamor for this.”
— Library Journal (starred review)
“With haunting candor, Marya Hornbacher takes us on a searing but heroic journey. Madness is impossible to put down. Hornbacher not only survived a nightmare, but she emerged with deep understanding and insight. She has written a stunning memoir of anguish and resilience, terror and transformation.”
— David Sheff, author of Beautiful Boy
“Many of us have been trained to think of spirituality as the sole provenance of religion; and if we have come to feel that the religious are not the only ones with access to a spiritual life, we may still be casting about for what, precisely, a spiritual life would be, without a God, a religion, or a solid set of spiritual beliefs.”
For those who don’t believe in God, feel disconnected from the ideas of God presented in organized religion, or are simply struggling to determine their own spiritual path, Marya Hornbacher, author of the New York Times best sellers Madness and Wasted, offers a down-to-earth exploration of the concept of faith.
In Waiting, Hornbacher uses the story of her own journey beginning with her recovery from alcoholism to offer a fresh approach to cultivating a spiritual life. Relinquishing the concept of a universal “Spirit” that exists outside of us, Hornbacher gives us the framework to explore the human spirit in each of us—the very thing that sends us searching, that connects us with one another, the thing that “comes knocking at the door of our emotionally and intellectually closed lives and asks to be let in.”
When we let it in and only when we do, she says, we begin to be integrated people. And we begin to walk a spiritual path. And there are many points along the way where we stop, or we fumble, or we get tangled up or turned around. Those are the places where we wait.
Waiting, you’ll discover, can become a kind of spiritual practice in itself, requiring patience, acceptance, and stillness. Sometimes we do it because we know we need to, though we may not know why. In short, we do it on faith.
Marya Hornbacher, author of the international best sellers Madness and Wasted, offers an enlightening examination of the Twelve Steps for those with co-occurring addiction and mental health disorders.
In this beautifully written recovery handbook, New York Times best-selling author Marya Hornbacher applies the wisdom earned from her struggle with a severe mental illness and addiction to offer an honest and illuminating examination of the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous for those with co-occurring addiction and mental health disorders.
Relaying her recovery experiences, and those of the people with whom she has shared her journey, Hornbacher guides readers through the maze of special issues that make working each Step a unique challenge for those with co-occurring disorders.
She addresses the difficulty that many with a mental illness have with finding support in a recovery program that often discourages talk about emotional problems, and the therapy and medication that they require. At the same time, Hornbacher reveals how the Twelve Steps can offer insights, spiritual sustenance, and practical guidance to enhance stability for those who truly have to approach sanity and sobriety one day at a time.
““The difference between now and the years when I lived in chaos is that I now have the knowledge, the tools, and the support to handle any kind of challenge, any kind of change.” Hornbacher (Madness) writes with honesty, empathy, and personal experience as someone with Bipolar Disorder who has struggled with addiction. She explores the meaning of the Twelve Steps in daily life to someone struggling with addiction, mental illness, or both. From perceptions of addicts (“that we can, by force of will, gain control over the substance to which we're addicted, and that our failure to do that is simply more proof that we are failures as people”) to the “God problem” of the Twelve Steps, Hornbacher reaches out to readers in a clear, surprisingly lyrical voice that seeks to understand, assist, and explain. The Steps, she argues, “help us through the difficult passages, and they teach us to take joy in the discoveries we make as we go. What I am discovering as I work and rework the Steps over time is that there is no end to this journey.” For anyone seeking to understand or conquer addiction, her book will be a valuable guide and pocket mentor.”
— Publisher’s Weekly
“Genuine, engaging, and unforgettable...With this stunning debut novel, Hornbacher...proves herself to be a master storyteller.”
— Booklist (starred review)
At the center of winter, in Motley, Minnesota, Arnold Schiller gives in to the oppressive season that reigns outside and also to his own inner demons -- he commits suicide, leaving a devastated family in his wake.
Claire Schiller, wife and mother, must emerge from her grief and help her two young children to recover. Twelve-year-old Esau is haunted by the same darkness that plagued his father. Already he has been in and out of psychiatric hospitals, and now he must overcome the forces that drive him deep into himself. Six-year-old Kate tries to help her mother hold the family together but has to come to terms with the memory of her father, who was at once loving and cruel.
Narrated alternately by Claire, Kate, and Esau, this powerful novel explores the ways in which both children and adults experience tragic events, discover solace and hope in one another, and survive.
“Hornbacher succeeds marvelously...[She] constructs a kaleidoscope of speakers at times beautiful and often disturbing...[An] adroit first novel.”
— Los Angeles Book Review
“Hornbacher’s debut novel is one of triumph and survival...A gripping tale of a family that copes despite the odds.”
— Library Journal
“Told alternately by Claire, Kate and Esau... Hornbacher finds the perfect pitch for their voices and their stories.”
— Baltimore Sun
“Uplifting, even humorous. . . . A captivating first novel.”
— Philadelphia Inquirer
— Seattle Post-Intelligencer
“Intimate... [Hornbacher’s] description of Claire Shiller’s long, slow return to physical desire is delicious in its restraint and directness.”
— New York Times Book Review
“[The] characters populate a landscape . . . that Hornbacher stakes out with great skill . . . Empty space is the defining feature of the book, and Hornbacher lays out her distances with the delicate skill of a cartographer.”
— Austin American-Statesman
“A memoir that resonates with unflinching candor and ironic wit, Wasted is a book that can save lives. The courage that prompted it awes me.”
— Dorothy Allison
In 2014, Marya wrote a new afterword to her classic work in which she argues that recovery from eating disorders is not only possible, it is necessary. Author Jenni Schaefer (Life Without Ed) interviewed Marya about the new afterword and making a full recovery from eating disorders. Jenni said,
"There is nothing triggering about her afterword except that it might lead you to make a drastic change in your life, for the better. Marya’s words are authentic and to the point. While she doesn’t sugarcoat the hard work of recovery, she does assure that healing is attainable and within reach."
You can read Jenni's three-part spotlight on Marya here.
Why would a talented young woman enter into a torrid affair with hunger, drugs, sex, and death? Through five lengthy hospital stays, endless therapy, and the loss of family, friends, jobs, and all sense of what it means to be "normal," Marya Hornbacher lovingly embraced her anorexia and bulimia -- until a particularly horrifying bout with the disease in college put the romance of wasting away to rest forever. A vivid, honest, and emotionally wrenching memoir, Wasted is the story of one woman's travels to reality's darker side—and her decision to find her way back on her own terms.
“A gritty, unflinching look at eating disorders....written from the raw, disintegrated center of young pain....Hornbacher describes [such phenomena] with a stark candor that captures both their pain and underlying purposes....She is wise beyond her years.”
— New York Times Book Review
“A scary but tentatively triumphant memoir....[Told] with grace, sharp humor and candor.”
— San Francisco Chronicle
“An unsparing, terrifying, razor-edged self-portrait that cuts right into the heart of this most paradoxical of psychological disorders.”
— Patricia Chao
“Hornbacher writes like an artist, shaping her themes without self-pity or self-importance, wondering with intelligence why the dissatisfaction everyone feels with life is so often blamed on the female body.”
— Village Voice
“Powerful, compelling, intelligent...A memoir that has the tension and movement of a well-paced novel...You simply cannot put Wasted down.”
— San Diego Union-Tribune
“This is a terrifically well-written book, completely devoid of self-pity.”
— Entertainment Weekly