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The Long Goodbye: A Memoirby Meghan O'Rourke
Synopses & Reviews
What is it like to mourn today, in a culture that has largely set aside rituals that acknowledge grief?After her mother died of cancer at the age of fifty-five, Meghan O'Rourke found that nothing had prepared her for the intensity of her sorrow. She began to create a record of her interior life as a mourner, trying to capture the paradox of grief—its monumental agony and microscopic intimacies—an endeavor that ultimately bloomed into a profound look at how caring for her mother during her illness changed and strengthened their bond. With lyricism and unswerving candor, The Long Goodbye captures the fleeting moments of joy that make up a life and the way memory can lead us out of the jagged darkness of loss. Effortlessly blending research and reflection, the personal and the universal, it is a love letter from a daughter to a mother that will touch any reader who has felt the powerful ties of familial love.
After her mother died of cancer at the age of 55, Meghan O'Rourke found that nothing had prepared her for the experience. In the first anguished days, she created a record of her life as a mourner, trying to capture the paradox of grief-its monumental agony and microscopic intimacies-an endeavor that ultimately bloomed into a profound look at how caring for her mother during her illness changed and strengthened their bond.
O'Rourke's story is one of resilience, as she observes her family persevere even in the face of immeasurable loss. And its also one of how a daughter's love for her mother endures, even after she is gone.
In this powerful and unforgettable memoir, award-winning writer Amy Butcher examines the shattering consequences of failing a friend when she felt he needed one most. Four weeks before their college graduation, twenty-one-year-old Kevin Schaeffer walked Amy Butcher to her home in their college town of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Hours after parting ways with Amy, he fatally stabbed his ex-girlfriend, Emily Silverstein. While he was awaiting trial, psychiatrists concluded that he had suffered an acute psychotic break. Although severely affected by Kevins crime, Amy remained devoted to him as a friend, believing that his actions were the direct result of his untreated illness. Over time, she became obsessed—determined to discover the narrative that explained what Kevin had done. The tragedy deeply shook her concept of reality, disrupted her sense of right and wrong, and dismantled every conceivable notion shed established about herself and her relation to the world. Eventually realizing that she would never have the answers, or find personal peace, unless she went after it herself, Amy returned to Gettysburg—the first time in three years since graduation—to sift through hundred of pages of public records: mental health evaluations, detectives notes, inventories of evidence, search warrants, testimonies, and even Kevins own confession.
Visiting Hours is Amy Butchers deeply personal, heart-wrenching exploration of how trauma affects memory and the way a friendship changes and often strengthens through seemingly insurmountable challenges. Ultimately, its a testament to the bonds we share with others and the profound resilience and strength of the human spirit.
About the Author
Meghan O'Rourke is the author of the poetry collections Once and Halflife. She is a cultural critic for Slate, and her essays and poems have appeared in The New Yorker, The Nation, and other publications. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.
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