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Anguished, beautifully written... The Long Goodbye is an elegiac depiction of drama as old as life. -- The New York Times Book Review From one of America's foremost young literary voices, a transcendent portrait of the unbearable anguish of grief and the enduring power of familial love. What does it mean to mourn today, in a culture that has largely set aside rituals that ackwledge grief? After her mother died of cancer at the age of fifty-five, Meghan O'Rourke found that thing had prepared her for the intensity of her sorrow. In the first anguished days, 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. O'Rourke's story is one of a life gone off the rails, of how watching her mother's illness-and separating from her husband-left her fundamentally altered. But it is also one of resilience, as she observes her family persevere even in the face of immeasurable loss. With lyricism and unswerving candor, The Long Goodbye conveys 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 t only an exceptional memoir, but a necessary one.
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.