Greater Than the Still
by Sarah Dayan
• More Info • About the Author • Author’s Website
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Juliette Laredo never meant to leave an impression on anyone, but in a city of constantly intertwining lives, her impact is greater than she knows.
Over the course of a day, an old fashioned deli owner is reminded of his damaged relationship with his daughter by the sight of Juliette’s smile. A rival coworker feels threatened by Juliette’s natural culinary talents, and a stranger on the train sees nostalgic glimpses of her native Philippines in Juliette’s dark hair.
More than a dozen unique New Yorkers narrate their own perceptions and feelings of Juliette, some without even knowing her at all. It is through their eyes that Juliette’s internal struggles are revealed. On the brink of deciding to return to a stable career as a mental health counselor or follow her passion as a pastry chef, Juliette’s worries surface when she is faced with a life-changing opportunity. Her emotional journey is full of uncertainty, but the most uncertain part is if her fear will hinder her future. Layers of Juliette’s life are peeled back by the loved ones and strangers she crosses paths with, as their interactions help change the course of her future.
Greater Than the Still portrays the love, fears, and heartbreaks of New Yorkers. It is a novel that blends the powers of daily interactions with a universal human curiosity to understand other peoples’ lives. In a city of anonymity, curious onlookers paint pieces of a picture that forms Juliette as a whole. But no one knows her story better than she does.
Rating: ★★★★ (4 out of 5 stars)
Juliette Laredo has lived in New York all her life. Choosing to leave her career as a mental health counselor behind and pursue her passion of baking, Juliette is still unsure about her life choices. Following several perspectives of the New Yorkers that Juliette crosses paths with on a single day, Greater Than the Still will take you on many different journeys—all the while showing how one person can change the lives of many.
While reading Greater Than the Still, I felt as if I was peeking into the lives of real, everyday people. I laughed, cried, sympathized with, and shouted at different characters. It made me hopeful, contemplative, sad, inspired, and happy all at the same time. This book examines so many different angles of the human heart—hopes, dreams, motives, love, lust, fulfillment, passions, fears, etc. One of the things I love most about reading is being able to learn something through each and every story that wouldn’t have otherwise been possible, and this book had me feeling like I had really travelled to New York and met all these interesting characters. It helped me gain a whole new perspective on how much we can affect those around us. The people that Juliette encountered and their stories were definitely engrossing, but what interested me most about this read was Juliette’s story itself. As a self-taught baker with dreams and passions myself, I connected with her on a level that was unique. Her hopes, dreams, and passions—and taking the leap to pursue them in spite of fear—inspired me greatly.
Though I really enjoyed Greater Than the Still, I do have to mention that this is not your typical fictional novel and won’t be for everyone. For those looking for a single character driven story, this isn’t it. But if you are looking for a grappling read that will leave you with a whole new perspective on everyday life and the people we encounter, read this book! It was so refreshing and I will definitely be recommending Greater Than the Still to family and friends. I only have one more thing to add—isn’t the cover just gorgeous?!
**I received this book from the author in exchange for my honest review. All thoughts are completely my own.
This book really reminded me of one of my favorite Instagram accounts, @HumansofNY, a page where you can read different people’s unique stories or perspectives every day. Have you ever checked out @HumansofNY? Have you read Greater Than the Still? If yes, what did you think?
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