The Hungry Mirror


a novel by Lisa de Nikolits

Print: 978-1-926708-00-3 – $22.95
ePUB: 978-1-926708-37-9 – $9.99
PDF: 978-1-77133-021-3 – $9.99
354 Pages
April 01, 2010

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The Hungry Mirror is the fictional tale of a young woman overwhelmed. Lured by false promise and seeking fickle social acceptability, she starves herself and fast becomes trapped when seeming-sanctuary proves a cage of addictions walled by self-hatred and filled with doubt. Increasingly ill, her marriage cold, her family well-intentioned enablers of mistaken social belief, the young woman realizes the choice is hers; to live or die. A story of compassionate vulnerability and determined empowerment.

“In this intelligent, sensitive and candid portrayal of ‘the land of thin’, Lisa de Nikolits shows us how the commodification of the female body in the market culture can become a pernicious force, imprisoning young women in a terrifying cycle of self-negation.”
—Edeet Ravel, author of Your Sad Eyes and Unforgettable Mouth

“Eleven calories more a day can kick one overboard into a sea of fat?” Such are the stomach-churning fears that haunt the fat-phobic, food-obsessed women in Lisa de Nikolits’s The Hungry Mirror. Like episodic entries in a food journal, the first-time author’s writing style is stripped down, pointed, raw, bereft of all fat. She cuts straight to the bone and slices open the gut-wrenching hurts of a circle of self-conscious (and mostly self-critical) characters obsessed with weight and body image. But de Nikilits’ real message is about cravings – cravings for self-acceptance, cravings for love.”
—Doug O’Neill, Canadian Living Magazine

“—For anyone who has ever wondered why a smart, accomplished woman would starve herself just to feel human, The Hungry Mirror takes an unsentimental look at the lonely world of eating disorders. This gripping tale of fractured self esteem pulls back the curtain on rigid regimens that collapse into chaos over and over again. Played out against a childhood where drastic dieting was a family value, Lisa deNikolits expertly delivers both sides of “a perfect life” that includes a marriage headed over the cliff and a brilliant but unpredictable career. Fasten your seat belts, folks: this is a ride on the psychological and emotional rollercoaster that is anorexia and bulimia. ”
—Kristin Jenkins, Anglican Journal

“If you ever wondered what it’s like to be under the spell of an eating disorder, you need only turn to Lisa de Nikolitis’s book, The Hungry Mirror. The pain resulting from obsessional thinking, a drive to be thinner and thinner, the terror of being “out-of-control” and the commitment to manipulating food, body and relationships are well described through the lives of it’s characters. Avoiding honesty with oneself and within all relationships are clearly delineated, as is the way that eating disorder symptoms get used to distract away from dealing with anything real. “No one wants to admit that the promised land of thin is just a myth,” says the main character. Recovery, we learn, requires recognizing that “thin rewards” are no where near as satisfying as the promise our mind seduces us into believing.”
—Jane Shure, Ph.D. co-editor of Effective Clinical Practice in the Treatment of Eating Disorders, co-author of Inside/Outside Self-Discovery for Teens, and writer for the Huffington Post

Born in South Africa, Lisa de Nikolits has lived and worked all over the world, and has art directed on magazines such as marie claire, Vogue, Vogue Living and Cosmopolitan. Her fiction has been published in the anthologies Stories from Our Black Book and Simply the Best. She lives in Toronto.

2 reviews for The Hungry Mirror

  1. InannaWebmaster

    Quill and Quire review, April 2010:

    “Lisa de Nikolits’ first novel is an unconventional treatment of eating disorders, which are often presented in fiction as merely an adolescent phase. De Nikolits shows how such disorders can in fact continue into adulthood. The sufferer appears fully functioning, while in reality their body obsession permeates every facet of their lives.

    De Nikolits’s beautiful, ambitious narrator has a husband and a great job designing layouts for women’s fashion magazines. Beneath this exterior, however, she is anorexic, bulimic and deeply obsessed with body image….

    Such close proximity to de Nikolits’ unnamed narrator makes The Hungry Mirror an uncomfortable read. Part of this is intentional, and effective — it becomes clear that the narrator is a prisoner of an obsession that exhausts her both physically and mentally….
    [T]he novel’s conclusion is thoughtful and strong….”

  2. InannaWebmaster

    Thrilling Thursday: Author Interview with Lisa de Nikolits, The Hungry Mirror
    Thursday, September 16, 2010
    By Amy Lance, WondrousWomenWorldwide.com

    “Lisa de Nikolits, author of The Hungry Mirror, has been “writing like a fiend for over twenty five years,” but this is her first novel published. From the first few pages of the book her unique and entertaining writing style will have you captured. Her words are so strong and realistic most any reader can resonate with the character and some of her antics. Lisa reflects that, “with this book, The Hungry Mirror, I took an issue – eating disorders – and I, with my own issues in this regard and looking at the women around me with similar concerns – opened the channels of characters and scenarios and that’s how the story evolved.”

    The Hungry Mirror is a witty, captivating, and entertaining read that accurately portrays the reality so many women face; a constant battle with their weight, body image, and food. On top of that she throws in relationship issues we face with friends and partners. With every turn of the page there are realistic accounts of thoughts and actions nearly every one of us have had or know someone who has faced the same mirror.

    Although Lisa is not writing about her personal experience she says she has struggled with others misunderstandings of eating disorders. “To many people; friends, family, lovers, husbands, think it comes down to ‘Just have a sandwich.’ Or, ‘Just don’t have the sandwich, what’s the issue?'” The reality of living with an eating disorder is so much more than that and “I wanted to help create understanding, awareness.” It is Lisa’s hope that women who do not have the support they need to overcome such a serious issue can use the book for support and to know they are not alone.

    Lisa openly discussed with me the “stigma to eating disorders, a shame. A huge amount of suffering is swept under the rug and I wanted to yank up that rug and say, ‘Here, this is what it looks like, this is world of someone who suffers, now do you see?'” I think this book does exactly that while also being a gentle reminder to each of us to look in the mirror to the issues we privately face; our issues with our body images and our relationships with food. It’s a frightening reality that so many of us deal with daily.

    I asked Lisa who the ideal reader was and she addresses that she intended the book to be “for and about women with eating disorders, for anyone interested in body image issues and I wanted to explore the role the media plays in aggravating these problems.” However, the book has gathered a larger audience than she had imagined. Lisa has “been surprised and even taken aback by the most unlikeliest of people having read and enjoyed it – people who have also gone out of their way to let me know.”

    Lisa is working on her second novel which “is a mainstream work of fiction; a coming-of-age, road-trip adventure about a girl named Benny, a drugstore cowboy with a fondness for narcotics and fine art.” So, I encourage all of you to check out Lisa’s latest novel The Hungry Mirror before her second novel hits the stands!”

    Lisa is originally from South Africa, yet has chosen to call Canada home since becoming a citizen in 2003. She has also lived and worked in the U.S.A., Sydney, Australia, and London, England. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and Philosophy and has contributed to various international anthologies. She has art directed on Vogue, marie claire, and Cosmopolitan. To learn more about Lisa and stay in touch for her second novel you can find her on the web at: http://www.lisadenikolitswriter.com/

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