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17 Heart-wrenching Memoirs About Love and Loss

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Writers chronicle their grief in the face of losing a parent, a child, a friend, or a sibling in these raw and moving memoirs.

Seeing Ghosts

Seeing Ghosts

Books

For readers of Helen Macdonald and Elizabeth Alexander, an intimate and haunting portrait of grief and the search for meaning from a singular new talent as told through the prism of three generations of her Chinese American family.Kat Chow has always been unusually fixated on death. She worried constantly about her parents dying---especially her mother. A vivacious and mischievous woman, Kat's mother made a morbid joke that would haunt her for years to come: when she died, she'd like to be stuffed and displayed in Kat's future apartment in order to always watch over her. After her mother dies unexpectedly from cancer, Kat, her sisters, and their father are plunged into a debilitating, lonely grief. With a distinct voice that is wry and heartfelt, Kat weaves together a story of the fallout of grief that follows her extended family as they emigrate from China and Hong Kong to Cuba and America. Seeing Ghosts asks what it means to reclaim and tell your family’s story: Is writing an exorcism or is it its own form of preservation? The result is an extraordinary new contribution to the literature of the American family, and a provocative and transformative meditation on who we become facing loss.

Notes on Grief

Notes on Grief

Books

A personal and powerful essay on loss from Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, the bestselling author of Americanah and Half of a Yellow Sun. 'Grief is a cruel kind of education. You learn how ungentle mourning can be, how full of anger. You learn how glib condolences can feel. You learn how much grief is about language, the failure of language and the grasping for language' On 10 June 2020, the scholar James Nwoye Adichie died suddenly in Nigeria. In this tender and powerful essay, expanded from the original New Yorker text, his daughter, a self-confessed daddy's girl, remembers her beloved father. Notes on Grief is at once a tribute to a long life of grace and wisdom, the story of a daughter's fierce love for a parent, and a revealing examination of the layers of loss and the nature of grief.

Wave

Wave

Books

One of The New York Times Book Review's 10 Best Books of the YearOn the morning of December 26, 2004, on the southern coast of Sri Lanka, Sonali Deraniyagala lost her parents, her husband, and her two young sons in the tsunami she miraculously survived. In this brave and searingly frank memoir, she describes those first horrifying moments and her long journey since. She has written an engrossing, unsentimental, beautifully poised account: as she struggles through the first months following the tragedy, furiously clenched against a reality that she cannot face and cannot deny; and then, over the ensuing years, as she emerges reluctantly, slowly allowing her memory to take her back through the rich and joyous life she’s mourning, from her family’s home in London, to the birth of her children, to the year she met her English husband at Cambridge, to her childhood in Colombo; all the while learning the difficult balance between the almost unbearable reminders of her loss and the need to keep her family, somehow, still alive within her.

Crying in H Mart

Crying in H Mart

Books

A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK OF THE YEAR - NEW YORK TIMES BEST SELLER - From the indie rockstar of Japanese Breakfast fame, one of TIME's Most Influential People of 2022, and author of the viral 2018 New Yorker essay that shares the title of this book, an unflinching, powerful memoir about growing up Korean American, losing her mother, and forging her own identity.In this exquisite story of family, food, grief, and endurance, Michelle Zauner proves herself far more than a dazzling singer, songwriter, and guitarist. With humor and heart, she tells of growing up one of the few Asian American kids at her school in Eugene, Oregon; of struggling with her mother's particular, high expectations of her; of a painful adolescence; of treasured months spent in her grandmother's tiny apartment in Seoul, where she and her mother would bond, late at night, over heaping plates of food. As she grew up, moving to the East Coast for college, finding work in the restaurant industry, and performing gigs with her fledgling band--and meeting the man who would become her husband--her Koreanness began to feel ever more distant, even as she found the life she wanted to live. It was her mother's diagnosis of terminal cancer, when Michelle was twenty-five, that forced a reckoning with her identity and brought her to reclaim the gifts of taste, language, and history her mother had given her. Vivacious and plainspoken, lyrical and honest, Zauner's voice is as radiantly alive on the page as it is onstage. Rich with intimate anecdotes that will resonate widely, and complete with family photos, Crying in H Mart is a book to cherish, share, and reread.

In Love

In Love

Books

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • A powerful memoir of a love that leads two people to find a courageous way to part—and a woman’s struggle to go forward in the face of loss—that “enriches the reader’s life with urgency and gratitude” (The Washington Post)“A pleasure to read . . . Rarely has a memoir about death been so full of life. . . . Bloom has a talent for mixing the prosaic and profound, the slapstick and the serious.”—USA Today ONE OF THE MOST ANTICIPATED BOOKS OF 2022—Oprah Daily, BookPageAmy Bloom began to notice changes in her husband, Brian: He retired early from a new job he loved; he withdrew from close friendships; he talked mostly about the past. Suddenly, it seemed there was a glass wall between them, and their long walks and talks stopped. Their world was altered forever when an MRI confirmed what they could no longer ignore: Brian had Alzheimer’s disease.Forced to confront the truth of the diagnosis and its impact on the future he had envisioned, Brian was determined to die on his feet, not live on his knees. Supporting each other in their last journey together, Brian and Amy made the unimaginably difficult and painful decision to go to Dignitas, an organization based in Switzerland that empowers a person to end their own life with dignity and peace.In this heartbreaking and surprising memoir, Bloom sheds light on a part of life we so often shy away from discussing—its ending. Written in Bloom’s captivating, insightful voice and with her trademark wit and candor, In Love is an unforgettable portrait of a beautiful marriage, and a boundary-defying love.

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