If Tolstoy is to be believed, “All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” And although the Russian master certainly knew his way around a tragedy, he’s not the only one —Toni Morrison’s latest short story “Sweetness,” published by The New Yorker in advance of her forthcoming April novel God Save the Child, carries on her tradition of brutally honest explorations into the many ways in which we hurt the ones we love. And nobody, I mean nobody, communicates the haunting specificity of an intimate, family struggle with the strength, candor, and honesty of Toni Morrison.

From The Bluest Eye to Beloved, Morrison’s most iconic works wrestle with the earth-shattering metamorphosis that begins to take shape when a single, self-contained individual takes up the mantle of parenthood.