Moment of Impact

“Whatever you do in your life, you have to do it twice as well now.” This is what Celine Zilke’s grieving mother told Darin Strauss, the young man who accidentally killed her 16-year-old daughter. Strauss was just 18 when Celine’s bicycle hit his windshield as he drove along the Long Island Sound. He was quickly exonerated—by everyone but himself. In Half a Life (McSweeney’s), out this week, Strauss explores the 1988 incident that has left an indelible mark on the second half of his life. Strauss describes the feeling of guilt he has carried with him, from Celine’s funeral through his last days of high school and into his adult life (he reaches for a soda and thinks how Celine will never feel a cold can again). With several best sellers prior, Strauss is no stranger to literary success, but Half a Life is perhaps a victory in owning up and letting go. More info at