Half a Life: A Memoir

Half a Life: A Memoir

3.7 58
by Darin Strauss
     
 

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In this powerful, unforgettable memoir, acclaimed novelist Darin Strauss examines the far-reaching consequences of the tragic moment that has shadowed his whole life. In his last month of high school, he was behind the wheel of his dad's Oldsmobile, driving with friends, heading off to play mini-golf. Then: a classmate swerved in front of his car. The collision

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Overview

In this powerful, unforgettable memoir, acclaimed novelist Darin Strauss examines the far-reaching consequences of the tragic moment that has shadowed his whole life. In his last month of high school, he was behind the wheel of his dad's Oldsmobile, driving with friends, heading off to play mini-golf. Then: a classmate swerved in front of his car. The collision resulted in her death. With piercing insight and stark prose, Darin Strauss leads us on a deeply personal, immediate, and emotional journey—graduating high school, going away to college, starting his writing career, falling in love with his future wife, becoming a father. Along the way, he takes a hard look at loss and guilt, maturity and accountability, hope and, at last, acceptance. The result is a staggering, uplifting tour de force.

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From the Trade Paperback edition.

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Editorial Reviews

Dani Shapiro
At the center of this elegant, painful, stunningly honest memoir thrums a question fundamental to what it means to be human: What do we do with what we've been given?…What is truly exceptional here is watching a writer of fine fiction…probe, directly, carefully and with great humility, the source from which his fiction springs.
—The New York Times
Sarah Halzack
…a starkly honest account of [a] fateful moment and [Strauss's] life thereafter…a penetrating, thought-provoking examination of the human mind and the bleak, meandering path down which catastrophe can send it.
—The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly
Strauss's spare memoir begins with a confession: "Half my life ago, I killed a girl." Strauss (The Real McCoy) readily acknowledges the problems of writing about this event, the result of a moment's distraction--trying to avoid aestheticizing reality, questioning his own self-involvement, admitting to playing a role of contrition, even remarking that "…tragedy turns a life into an endless publicity tour, a string of appearances where you actually think in words like ‘tragedy'"--yet a discomfiting tone pervades, and some of the author's concerns, such as those related to public perception, may alienate readers. As Strauss breezes through key events that span over a decade, he reminds us that life seldom involves the drama of deep atonement, epiphanies, unadulterated grief, or nightmarish flashbacks. A much more complicated mixture of selfish relief, sadness, and survivor's guilt informs the aftermath of unthinkable events, and what proves most frightening is the gradual awareness that one has begun to forget; forgetting contains not just the drive to move ahead, but also the fear of erasure. Strauss delivers an unexpected take on remorse with the maturity that only comes from earnest reflection. (Sept.)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780679643821
Publisher:
Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
05/31/2011
Sold by:
Random House
Format:
NOOK Book
Sales rank:
162,990
File size:
2 MB

Meet the Author

Darin Strauss is the bestselling author of three previous books. The recipient of a Guggenheim in fiction writing and numerous other awards, Strauss has seen his work translated into fourteen languages and published in more than twenty countries. He is a Clinical Associate Professor of Writing at New York University, and he lives with his wife and children in Brooklyn.


From the Trade Paperback edition.

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