Ever after: A Father's True Story

Ever after: A Father's True Story

by William Wharton
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

In August of 1988, heavy black smoke engulfed an Oregon highway, causing a massive 23-car pileup that claimed the lives of novelist William Wharton's 36-year-old daughter, her husband, and their two infant daughters. They'd been victims of field burning, a routine agricultural practice, and were burned alive in their van.

How could such a thing happen?

Overview

In August of 1988, heavy black smoke engulfed an Oregon highway, causing a massive 23-car pileup that claimed the lives of novelist William Wharton's 36-year-old daughter, her husband, and their two infant daughters. They'd been victims of field burning, a routine agricultural practice, and were burned alive in their van.

How could such a thing happen? And how could a father come to terms with such a loss? Ever After, Wharton's first memoir, is his search for answers to these questions, written with the inspired simplicity that won him great acclaim for his novels.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Until August 3, 1988, novelist Wharton (Birdy, 1979, Last Lovers, LJ 4/15/91) and his close-knit family had led a rather charmed and charming life "in a kind of never-never land where nothing happens to us, only to other people." But on that terrible day, disaster struck; Wharton's oldest daughter, Kate; her husband, Bert; and their daughters, two-year-old Dayiel and eight-month-old Mia, were killed in a 23-car collision on an Oregon highway, triggered by dense smoke rolling over from nearby fields where a farmer had been burning grass stubble. In his first nonfiction work, which he terms "biography-autobiography-fiction...in the form of a documentary novel." Wharton applies the same literary techniques that made his novels so emotionally compelling to tell a powerful story of devastating loss and spiritual healing. In Part 1, he uses Kate's voice poignantly to reimagine the vibrant lives and violent deaths of a loving young family. In the next two sections, Wharton recounts his grief and anger at an accident that could have been prevented and his three-year legal battle to bring the environmental issue of field burning to trial. No happy endings here, but two spiritual epiphanies give Wharton and readers a new understanding of life and whatever lies beyond death. Highly recommended. [See profile on p. 109.-Ed.]-Wilda Williams, "Library Journal"
Denise Perry Donavin
The novelist who has so jealously guarded his privacy in his previous works unfolds a heartbreaking event in his family's recent history. Wharton calls his newest work a medley of biography-autobiography-fiction written in "the form of a documentary novel." Wharton first writes from the point of view of his grown daughter about her love life, marriages, and the birth of her three children. This section ends with her death (along with her two young daughters and husband) in a tragic multicar accident. In part 2, Wharton takes over, telling of his role as grieving father and grandfather. Finally, in part 3, he records his pursuit of justice over the cause of these deaths--the environmentally unsound but legally permissible burning of grass fields in Oregon, which caused an intense, blinding layer of smoke to cover an expressway on which trucks and cars traveled in excess of 70 mph. Wharton's encounter with the legal system left him frustrated, to say the least. However, this recording of his anguish and unhappiness should prove far more effective than any courtroom drama in clarifying the horror of the tragedy and the case against grass-burning in Oregon.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781557042231
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
05/28/1995
Pages:
256
Product dimensions:
6.34(w) x 9.16(h) x 0.84(d)

Meet the Author

A self-described painter who writes, William Wharton is the pen name for the author of two memoirs—Houseboat on the Seine and Ever After—as well as eight novels—Birdy, Dad, A Midnight Clear, Scumbler, Pride, Tidings, Franky Furbo, and Last Lovers. His works have been acclaimed worldwide and have been translated into over fifteen languages.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >