The Grief of Others; Leah Hager Cohen
September 15, 2011 - Riverhead(AMAZON)
In the tradition of The Memory Keeper's Daughter, a gripping, generous, and provocative novel chronicling the grief that follows the death of a newborn-and that leads to a family's emotional reawakening.
It begins with loss. John and Ricky Ryrie are stricken by the death of their third child, only fifty-seven hours after his birth. Struggling to regain a semblance of normalcy, they find themselves pretending not only that little has changed, but that nothing was wrong before this baby came so briefly into their lives. Yet in the aftermath of his death, long-suppressed uncertainties about their relationship come roiling to the surface. A dreadful secret emerges concerning what Ricky knew about her pregnancy and concealed from everyone, even John. And the couple's two older children, grappling with the tensions around them, begin to act out in exquisitely, perhaps courageously, idiosyncratic ways. Ultimately, though, the grief that was initially so isolating brings the four family members to connect powerfully with the sadness and burdens of others- to the grief that is part of every human life and that carries within it the ability to draw us together. And in the end, Ricky and John's marriage is stronger for the transformation their grief has allowed.
Moving, psychologically acute, and gorgeously written, The Grief of Others is Leah Hager Cohen at the height of her talent in what is sure to be her breakout book, one that forces readers to ask themselves: What would I have done? The Grief of Others exposes the paradox that facing tragedy together can in fact awaken us to our better selves and take us from fear to a place of hope and optimism.