• Hardcover: 384 pages
• Publisher: Riverhead Hardcover (September 15, 2011)
“How does a family transcend its own pain? How do the secrets we keep shape our lives and the lives of those we love? In this gracefully written, elegantly structured novel, Leah Hager Cohen has created an indelible cast of characters whose story is at once wrenching and redemptive. This is a beautiful book.”—Dani Shapiro, author of Family History
Is keeping a secret from a spouse always an act of infidelity? And what cost does such a secret exact on a family?
The Ryries have suffered a loss: the death of a baby just fifty-seven hours after his birth. Without words to express their grief, the parents, John and Ricky, try to return to their previous lives. Struggling to regain a semblance of normalcy for themselves and for their two older children, they find themselves pretending not only that little has changed, but that their marriage, their family, have always been intact. Yet in the aftermath of the baby’s death, long-suppressed uncertainties about their relationship come roiling to the surface. A dreadful secret emerges with reverberations that reach far into their past and threaten their future.
The couple’s children, ten-year-old Biscuit and thirteen-year-old Paul, responding to the unnamed tensions around them, begin to act out in exquisitely- perhaps courageously-idiosyncratic ways. But as the four family members scatter into private, isolating grief, an unexpected visitor arrives, and they all find themselves growing more alert to the sadness and burdens of others-to the grief that is part of every human life but that also carries within it the power to draw us together.
Moving, psychologically acute, and gorgeously written, The Grief of Others asks how we balance personal autonomy with the intimacy of relationships, how we balance private decisions with the obligations of belonging to a family, and how we take measure of our own sorrows in a world rife with suffering. This novel shows how one family, by finally allowing itself to experience the shared quality of grief, is able to rekindle tenderness and hope.
Leah Hager Cohen is the author of four nonfiction books, including Train Go Sorry and Glass, Paper, Beans, and three novels, most recently House Lights. Among the honors her books have received are selection as a New York Times Notable Book (four times); American Library Association Ten Best Books of the Year; and a Booksense 76 Pick. She is a frequent contributor to the New York Times Book Review.
Leah’s Tour Stops
Tuesday, September 13th: Jenn’s Bookshelves
Wednesday, September 14th: Book Addiction
Thursday, September 15th: BookNAround
Monday, September 19th: Colloquium
Tuesday, September 20th: Life In Review
Wednesday, September 21st: 2 Kids and Tired Book Reviews
Thursday, September 22nd: A Cozy Reader’s Corner
Tuesday, September 27th: Library of Clean Reads
Wednesday, September 28th: That’s What She Read
Monday, October 3rd: A Bookish Way of Life
Wednesday, October 5th: Laura’s Reviews
Thursday, October 6th: Peeking Between the Pages
Friday, October 7th: Iwriteinbooks’s blog
Monday, October 10th: Crazy for Books
Wednesday, October 12th: The House of the Seven Tails