Synopses & Reviews
A gripping verse memoir that offers a compassionate and wrenching account of the author’s experience of childhood sexual abuse.
Joshua Mensch’s devastating lyric memoir, Because, explores with extraordinary literary power and sophistication the toxic power of adults who prey on the children in their care. Its story begins when Mensch is ten years old and first meets Don, the charming director of a youth wilderness camp and a lifelong friend of his parents. What follows is a harrowing account of sexual and psychological abuse, told from the evolving perspective of a child entering adolescence. Because unfolds through a series of precise, jewel-like scenes that render the shifting and uncertain landscapes of childhood memory with vividness and precision. Its swift, convincing music, propelled by the powerful litany of the word "because," builds a heartbreaking tale of genuine power whose characters are as complex and fully realized as those in a novel. An unflinching take on the vulnerabilities and dangers of childhood, Because succumbs neither to self-pity nor platitudes, but instead finds consolation in the healing power of its own narrative act.
"[A] disturbing, memorably and superbly handled book-length narrative poem…[Mensch] has an ear, he’s thoughtful, he’s subtle where subtle makes sense." Stephanie Burt, author of The Poem Is You
"This book tore me apart: it is riveting, beautiful, and quietly devastating. Mensch is a gifted and unflinching poet, and he has one hell of a story to tell." Patrick Phillips, author of Blood at the Root and Elegy for a Broken Machine
"Unrelentingly obsessive…an achievement of sustained attention and imagination." Michael Collier, author of Dark Wild Realm
"[Because] is a rare and remarkable text. Although it deals unswervingly with abuse, violations of trust and the deeply damaging effect of both of these, it is also literary, powerful and consoling…A deeply achieved record of human truth, earned at cost and beautifully expressed." Eavan Boland
About the Author
Joshua Mensch is a poet, visual artist, and a founding editor of the literary journal B O D Y. He grew up in Nova Scotia, Canada, and lives and works in Prague, Czech Republic.