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5+ Obras 453 Miembros 26 Reseñas

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Joan Wickersham is the author of the novel The Paper Anniversary. Her work has appeared in The Best American Short Stories. An excerpt from The Suicide Index earned her Ploughshares's Cohen Award for Best Short Story of 2007. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Obras de Joan Wickersham

Obras relacionadas

The Best American Short Stories 2013 (2013) — Contribuidor — 280 copias
The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2011 (2011) — Contribuidor — 238 copias
The Best American Short Stories 1990 (1990) — Contribuidor — 221 copias
The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2015 (2015) — Contribuidor — 106 copias
The Good Parts: The Best Erotic Writing in Modern Fiction (2000) — Contribuidor — 34 copias
Sister to Sister (1995) — Contribuidor — 32 copias
Glimmer Train Stories, #60 (2006) — Contribuidor — 8 copias


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Mixed feelings. The book starts out very well, so the first 3rd is great. However, a lot of the other parts are weak. Some of the chapters were written for different publications and do not seem to flow well with the book as a hole.
The only other worthwhile part was when the author starts connecting with other suicide victims.
Still, this is probably the best non-fiction book I have ever read.
MXMLLN | 10 reseñas más. | Jan 12, 2024 |
This is an extraordinary book, and one that is hard to sum up. The foundational events around which the memoir is built are easy to identify. One morning Joan Wickersham's father wakes up, gets dressed, makes his breakfast, makes decaf for himself and real coffee for his wife which he leaves at her bedside, brings in the paper, walks up to his study and sticks a gun in his mouth and pulls the trigger. No note and no real warning signs (though in hindsight there were many things that might be interpreted that way.) That act then came to define Wickersham's life, her husband's and to some extent her children's lives, her mother's and sister's lives, and the lives of everyone around them. People talk about suicide these days like it is a choice every person can make for themselves and there is so fallout. For those of us who are left behind (my loss to suicide was an ex-boyfriend of many years) we know this to be untrue. Wickersham says something in the book about the term "commit suicide" which resonated now that there is a movement afoot to erase that term from language and replace it with "died by suicide." She said that people "commit suicide" against those they leave behind, that even if it is not an act of aggression it is an act of reckless indifference to the impact on those left in the rubble, those who realize they never really knew a person who was one of the most important people in their lives. (This is obviously not intended on my part to cover suicides attributable to chronic and/or terminal illness. Nobody is left to wonder about the reasons for the choice to take ones life in that case, to feel like everything that came before was a lie.)

This book is about being left in that rubble. It is about the dozen or so years following Wickersham's father's suicide, and her driving need to find answers, to put order and meaning around something so disorderly and unexplainable. The book is brutally honest, and throws into relief fractures in the "happy family" people might think they had, it tears down the lies we tell ourselves about our parents and it humanizes them, it digs into the ugly side of mother-daughter and spousal relationships, it does not shy away from vanity and self-centeredness and anger. This is it, this is what suicide leaves in its wake. This is clear-eyed, not at all sentimental or sensational, it is almost terse, and it is creative in its structure not for creativity's sake, but because the structure enhances the communicative heft of the story without defining how you, the reader, should feel. Brilliant.
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Narshkite | 10 reseñas más. | Sep 23, 2021 |
wordloversf | 13 reseñas más. | Aug 14, 2021 |
I forget where I first encountered Wickersham's work; I think it may have been a story in a recent issue one story. I've come across a few authors featured in that little magazine whose work I've gone on to follow.

I was a little disappointed when I read the first story in The News from Spain. It was kind of dull, a story about infidelity and the difficulty of reconciliation. It seemed almost like a romance drama, if thankfully a few notches higher in terms of quality than the classic bodice ripper. But as I kept reading, the stories began to appeal to me more and more. They became in some cases stories about how stories are made, and there was here and there a touch of the avant garde -- or at least the nonconventional -- about them. Several of the stories also were quite dark, with sort of gut-punch endings that appealed to me.

Wickersham writes well, and though I don't think there was much in the book that I found especially inspiring (meaning: her work doesn't make me want to try writing my own stuff, which the fiction that most appeals to me does tend to do), I think there are some really good stories in the book. I'm glad I read it and will likely read more by her.
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dllh | 13 reseñas más. | Jan 6, 2021 |



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