Selected Essays

The Path is Made by Walking: A Wilderness Meditation

Refuge in the Storm: A Meditation on Etty Hillesum


Mother Tongue

Zoom/Gleebooks book launch on Youtube:

News: Joyce’s new novel, Mother Tongue, is forthcoming in 2020, published by Brandl & Schlesinger, Australia (

Mother Tongue is a tender and sensitive story about family secrets, loss and recovery from loss; a wise and lyrical meditation on the nature of love.” – Gail Jones, novelist

Mother Tongue is a profound and moving novel that asks complex questions with such crystal clarity they seem simple. Are we formed by our genes? Our history? Or do we make ourselves? How do we lose each other? More importantly: how do we find each other?” – Sophie Cunningham, novelist and essayist

The Reason for Wings

“Kornblatt’s lyrical narrative blends Singer’s magic realism with Wiesel’s sorrowful morality and Borges’s elegant storytelling. Inventive in language and imagery, Kornblatt conveys the ways by which one family survives, continually reimagining itself, unearthing the painful past so that the newest heir may honor, and remember, her remarkable ancestors.” – Publisher’s Weekly

White Water

“In her 1985 novel, White Water, Joyce Reiser Kornblatt told the story of the Fry family at a moment of transition, the marriage of a daughter and granddaughter, through five first-person accounts, each an independent short story. The form itself was a metaphor for the author’s theme: however separate and alienated these people may be from one another, family connectedness and domestic love provide the only buffer against the world’s travails, the only raft in white water.” – The Sunday New York Times Book Review

“In White Water you’ll hear exactly the way that people speak; the omissions are as important as the black squares on a crossword puzzle. The novel is a kind of puzzle about people who once fit together and who stay together in important ways even when they do not encounter each other. Kornblatt’s prose is beautiful, and the novel is layered so that we peer into a cat’s cradle of sad and surprising truths.” – Ann Beattie, novelist and short story writer

Breaking Bread

“The theme of the book, and its title, are from W. H. Auden: ‘Through art, we are able to break bread with the dead, and without communion with the dead a fully human life is impossible.’ The lives in Breaking Bread are the narrator’s sacred dead. Whether they are also the author’s is a speculation she invites and evades. The narrative voice is strong, clear, womanly – this is someone you believe, whether she is relating the simple and circumstantial events of daily life or the convoluted histories of flight and resettlement she can only have heard second- or third-hand or, as she tells us, ‘dreamed.’ One of the many pleasures is the richness of detail, the layering of meanings – and the suggestive uncertainty whether this is augmented memoir or elegant fiction sculpted on the slight armature of memory.” – The Sunday New York Times Book Review

Nothing to Do With Love

“Splendidly alive….Kornblatt’s fiction explores the dark corners between parents and children with haunting, sharp-eyed clarity and rueful humor.” – The Sunday New York Times Book Review.