…raw, painful and yet occasionally comic memoir of the year and a half following the sudden death of [Roiphe's] husband…Intended to be the story of the remaking of a survivor's life after a cherished partner's death, Epilogue is instead the moving, immeasurably sad story of the aftermath of an irreplaceable relationship.
The New York Times
"Grief is in two parts," writes Roiphe (Fruitful; 1185 Park Avenue). "The first is loss. The second is the remaking of life." In her new memoir of late-life widowhood, she encounters the latter. Roiphe's husband, "H" (Herman), died of a heart attack after 39 years of marriage. He left stacks of publications forwarded from his office that she can't help reading-psychoanalytic case histories in which patients are known only by initials. She lives in a stunned, rhythmless disconnect, unsure how to mark time, sleep or stave off fear and loneliness. Thoughts of suicide comfort her as her former sense of independence evaporates. She struggles to manage her finances, decide where to live, keep up with the contents of her refrigerator and learn countless tasks that had always been H's. Courtship, sex and gender roles confound her as she ventures to date men she meets through Match.com and the personal ad that her daughters place on her behalf. She considers her role in her family, her circle of friends, her new "sisterhood" of widows and the broader world in which she has "no right to complain." In poignant flashes of everyday moments and memories, Roiphe tells an unflinching and unsentimental story of widowhood's stupefying disquiet, of surviving love and living on. (Sept.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Best-selling author and National Book Award nominee Roiphe (Lovingkindness) and her husband, Herman (known here as H), had been married 39 years when he collapsed and died suddenly. As Roiphe tiptoes into her new life, each event triggers a memory of H. He enjoyed cooking and did most of the shopping, so eating and going to the grocery store bring painful memories. Likewise, Roiphe had never figured out how to unlock their apartment door-H always did that-so entering and leaving home becomes another obstacle to overcome. Although friends and family invite her to lunches, dinners, and plays, Roiphe seems preoccupied with finding another male companion. She includes here detailed accounts of her numerous emails, phone calls, and dates with every available man she meets. This single-minded need to find a male companion seems strangely out of character for the feminist author. While her memoir serves an important purpose by bringing light to the often hidden subject of grief, the parade of possible suitors she presents weakens its impact and limits its appeal. Recommended with some reservations for large public collections. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 5/15/08.]
Nancy R. Ives
A spare, trembling and troubling memoir of loss from recently widowed novelist and social commentator Roiphe (An Imperfect Lens, 2006, etc.). Flirting with (but never seriously courting) cliche, the author offers as a principal metaphor the phases of the moon, but readers must resist the urge to roll their eyes at this all-too-familiar friend and instead marvel at the intricate tale she crafts. Its structure is so fine as to be all but invisible, and each word seems like the individual beat of a human heart. Using the present-that most gossamer of tenses-throughout, she tells a series of stories about herself and her deceased husband, identified only as H. Eventually, we learn a number of things about him: He read and reread the 47 novels of Anthony Trollope; he loved Mozart and the Dutch masters. He touched his wife often, always used his key at the front door. We learn, too, about her family: her first marriage, her daughters, an estrangement from a nephew that death and time are healing. Nearing 70, the author wonders if she needs another man in her life. She tries online-dating services and relates meetings with men whose failures to be her lost husband she describes most affectingly. One persistent e-mail correspondent continually sends her pages of right-wing paranoia, yet she remains attracted to him for a long time-longer, she knows, than sense should have allowed. She recalls old friendships, examines closely the dying of the light, decides to catalog the imperfections of her husband but can criticize only his erratic driving and, worst of all, his dying. She gives away his clothes but can't decide what to do with his neckties. Her occasional flashbacks to the emergencyroom and the funeral are bright bursts of painful light. As fragile and as haunting as memory itself. Agent: Lisa Bankoff/ICM
“Radiates with raw emotion and is both painful to read and terrifying to consider. . . . No one can really prepare a woman for this passage in life, but Roiphe’s luminous memoir is a beacon of help and, ultimately, hope.”