Tuesday, March 31, 2015

A Powerful Memoir of Love and Grief

By Grace Stearns    |   Monday, March 30, 2015 - Off the Shelf
“Grief turns out to be a place none of us know until we reach it,” Joan Didion concludes at the close of her 2011 memoir A Year of Magical Thinking. “Nor can we know ahead of the fact (and here lies the heart of the difference between grief as we imagine it and grief as it is) the unending absence that follows, the void, the very opposite of meaning, the relentless succession of moments during which we will confront the experience of meaninglessness itself.”

For Artis Henderson, grief was a place reached in early childhood, after she survived the airplane crash that killed her father. She was just five years old. Grief was a place to which Artis returned two decades later, when her husband of four months died in a non-combat-related helicopter accident in Iraq. 

Henderson’s memoir, Unremarried Widow, unfolds within the eerie, symmetrical tension of these two catastrophic events, her renderings of which expertly map the intimate contours of the mysterious transformation we all undergo in the face of tremendous loss. Laced with lyricism and complexity, Henderson’s generous account of the loss of her husband capably transports even those who have yet to reach the incorporeal location Didion desc... READ FULL POST

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