Review: Susan Cain's Bittersweet is a compassionate tilt at the human condition

By Ian McFarlane
June 25 2022 - 2:00pm
Leonard Cohen's "yearning" songs are an inspiration for 'Bittersweet'. Picture: Shutterstock
  • Bittersweet: How Sorrow and Longing Make Us Whole, by Susan Cain. Viking, $35.

Susan Cain is the American author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking, which sold over 4 million copies and was translated into more than 40 languages. Previously an ambitious lawyer, Cain withdrew into more reflective pursuits, and following the runaway success of Quiet, has produced Bittersweet, which resists classification, hovering like a butterfly between poetic mysticism and social psychology, as it dips into philosophy and Buddhism in search of the correlation between beauty and sadness.