Synopses & Reviews
When Robin Romm's The Mother Garden
was published, The New York Times Book Review
called her "a close-up magician," saying, "hers is the oldest kind [of magic] we know: the ordinary incantation of words and stories to help us navigate the darkness and finally to hold the end at bay." In her searing memoir The Mercy Papers,
Romm uses this magic to expand the weeks before her mother's death into a story about a daughter in the moments before and after loss.
With a striking mix of humor and honesty, Romm ushers us into a world where an obstinate hospice nurse tries to heal through pamphlets and a yelping grandfather squirrels away money in a shoe-shine kit. Untrained dogs scamper about as strangers and friends rally around death, offering sympathy as they clamor for attention. The pillbox turns quickly into a metaphor for order; questions about medication turn to musings about God. The mundane and spiritual melt together as Romm reveals the sharp truths that lurk around every corner and captures, with great passion, the awe, fear, and fury of a daughter losing her mother.
The Mercy Papers was started in the midst of heartbreak, and not originally intended for an audience. The result is a raw, unsentimental book that reverberates with humanity. Robin Romm has created a tribute to family and an indelible portrait that will speak to anyone who has ever loved and lost.
"I love this passionate and beautifully written memoir, The Mercy Papers. Every sentence rings with furious love and loss." -- Abigail Thomas, author of A Three Dog Life
"There is comfort in the unflinching honesty of Robin Romm's astonishing memoir. I sought such truth after my daughter died, and grew angry at the platitudes, the cowardice, the lack of acknowledgment of what life and death hold. But Robin faces it head-on, and I am grateful to her for being brave enough to share her story." -- Ann Hood, the author of Comfort and The Knitting Circle
"Robin Romm takes on the hardest subject (the death of a person you can't live without) the hardest way (no easy answers, no gratuitous nod toward redemption, and not a whisper of sentimentality). Only a very fine writer could create this slam dance of sorrow, rage, helplessness, and laugh-out-loud humor; a book that is unapologetically raw and undeniably artful at once." -- Pam Houston, author of Cowboys Are My Weakness and Sight Hound
"Romm's piercing and personal look at loss will speak to anyone who has coped or is coping with the death of a loved one." -- Booklist
"A piercing, heartbreaking reminder that loss doesn't end." -- Kirkus Reviews, starred
From the critically acclaimed author of "The Mother Garden" comes a stirring and intimate memoir about the three weeks before her mother's death.
A profound, brave and intensely intimate memoir that reveals the awe, fear, and fury of a daughter during the last three weeks of her mother's life.
About the Author
Robin Romm is the author of the critically acclaimed short story collection, The Mother Garden, which was a finalist for the 2008 PEN USA Fiction Award. Born and raised in Eugene, Oregon, she currently lives in Berkeley, California, and New Mexico, where she is assistant professor of creative writing and literature at the College of Santa Fe.