Novelist Bloom (White Houses) looks back on the beauty and turmoil of accompanying her husband through the final days of his life in this deeply moving memoir. When her husband, Brian, was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s in 2019, he chose to end his life via assisted suicide at Dignitas in Switzerland. As Bloom writes, she worried “that a better wife, certainly a different wife, would have said no, would have insisted on keeping her husband in this world until his body gave out.” But her love for Brian and his desire for a meaningful end of life drove their mutual agreement to take the steps for him to die on his own terms. With passion and sharp wit, she jumps back and forth between the beginning of their relationship, the Herculean effort it took to secure an agreement with Dignitas, and the painful anticipation of the final trip to Switzerland. Most poignant are the intimate moments they share as they make the most of their last days together. As she writes, “I imagine that Brian feels as alone as I do but I can tell he isn’t as afraid.” The result is a stunning portrayal of how love can reveal itself in life’s most difficult moments. Agent: Claudia Ballard, WME. (Mar.)
This shimmering love story and road map is must-read testimony. . . . You will never forget this book, and if you do, let’s hope someone close to you remembers.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Reading this book is, purely and simply, a transcendent experience. In Love is a thrillingly beautiful, laser-eyed book about love, life, mortality, and, most remarkably, the ways in which no one of the three can be separated from the others. Prepare yourself to be heartbroken, expanded, unsettled, and filled with hope.”—Michael Cunningham, author of A Home at the End of the World
“I read In Love in one sitting on a long flight and a flight never went by so fast. I am full of admiration for this important memoir. The mastery of this book draws us in and delivers us, by the last page, changed.”—Amy Tan, author of The Joy Luck Club
“In Love is a buoyant and entrancing memoir about one of the worst things that can happen to a couple. Bloom’s unfiltered glimpse into a working marriage is both a touchingly besotted portrait of her husband and a wrenching account of his gradual retreat from her. Their resolute approach to his death yields a story pulsing with raw life.”—Alison Bechdel, author of Fun Home
“This is a beautiful, necessary book for anyone who loves their partner deeply and wonders and worries what the end might be like: poignant, kind, funny, and ultimately redemptive. One cries a lot, in the best of ways.”—Alain de Botton, author of The Course of Love
“A remarkable book from one of the United States’s most consistently brilliant writers . . . The subject is death, so the end is inevitable; but Bloom’s story is full of surprises and some of the most heartbreaking, honest, and funniest writing you’ll ever read.”—Roddy Doyle, author of Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha
“A stunning portrayal of how love can reveal itself in life’s most difficult moments.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
With In Love, NBA/NBCC finalist Bloom (White Houses) takes us on a painful journey as her husband retires from his job, withdraws from life, and finally receives a diagnosis of early-onset Alzheimer's; she recalls both the love they experienced and the love it took to stand by him as he ended his life on his own terms. In The Beauty of Dusk, New York Times columnist Bruni contemplates aging, illness, and the end of the road as he describes a rare stroke that deprived him of sight in his right eye, even as he learns that he could lose sight in his left eye as well. In Aurelia, Aurélia, Lannan Literary Award-winning novelist Davis (The Silk Road) considers how living and imagining interact in a book grounded in the joys and troubles of her marriage and her husband's recent death. Raised in an ultra-orthodox Jewish household and married off at age 19 to a man she barely knew, Haart made a Brazen decision more than two decades later, surreptitiously earning enough money to break away, then entering the fashion world, and finally becoming CEO and co-owner of the modeling agency Elite World Group. Adding to all those paw-poundingly wonderful canine celebrations that keep coming our way, And a Dog Called Fig is Dublin IMPAC long-listed Canadian novelist Humphreys's paean to dogs as the ideal companion to the writing life. In The Tears of a Man Flow Inward, Burundi-born, U.S.-based Pushcart/Whiting honoree Irankunda recalls how his family and fellow villagers survived the 13-year civil war in his country—with the help, crucially, of his kind and brave mother, a Mushingantahe, or chosen village leader—and how the war destroyed Burundi's culture and traditions. As private investigator Krouse explains in Tell Me Everything, she accepted a case of alleged sexual assault at a party for college football players and recruits despite reservations owing to her own experiences with sexual violence, then saw the case become a landmark civil rights case. In Red Paint, LaPointe, a Salish poet and nonfiction author from the Nooksack and Upper Skagit Indian tribes, explains how she has sought to reclaim a place in the world for herself and her people by blending her passion for the punk rock of the Pacific Northwest and her desire to honor spiritual traditions and particularly a namesake great-grandmother who fought to preserve the Lushootseed language. Undoubtedly, book critic Newton has Ancestor Trouble: a forebear accused of witchcraft in Puritan Massachusetts, a grandfather married 13 times, a father who praised slavery and obsessed over the purity of his bloodlines, and a frantic, cat-rescuing mother who performed exorcisms, all of which made her wonder how she would turn out. In How Do I Un-Remember This? comedian/screenwriter Pellegrino draws on his big-hit podcast Everything Iconic with Danny Pellegrino (over 13.5 million downloads in 2020) as he renegotiates 1990s pop culture and moments funny, embarrassing, or painful to limn growing up closeted in a conservative Ohio community. In Black Ops, Prado portrays a life that ranges from his family's fleeing the Cuban revolution when he was seven to his retirement from the CIA as the equivalent of a two-star general while also detailing the agency's involvement over the decades in numerous "shadow wars" (200,000-copy first printing). Segall came of age as a reporter just as tech entrepreneurs began to soar, and as she interviewed these Special Characters, she also rose to become an award-winning investigative reporter and (until 2019) CNN's senior tech correspondent (75,000-copy first printing).
A beloved fiction writer shares the story of her husband's assisted suicide after being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.
Readers will be locked into this gorgeously written memoir out of profound sympathy for the decision Bloom's 65-year-old husband made upon learning of his condition. A man who absolutely loved life, Brian immediately asked for help planning an early exit. By that time, the couple had for several years endured the depredations of his failing cognition without knowing why. Bloom describes this period with regret, longing, and her trademark mordant humor: "He has gotten me some really ugly jewelry in the last three years, things that are so far from my taste that, if he were a different man, I’d think he was keeping a seventies-boho, broke-ass mistress in Westville and gave me the enameled copper earrings and bangle he bought for her, by mistake." After researching what the future might hold, they sought the services of Dignitas, a Swiss organization supporting "accompanied suicide." The application process was complex. As one of Bloom's friends joked, "It’s like you do everything you possibly can to get your kid into Harvard and when you do, they kill him." Along with this black humor comes plenty of despair. Sadness and tears suffuse the narrative, and many readers will shed tears of their own. In one heart-wrenching section, the author describes the plight of a family friend who shared Brian’s condition: "She winds up in the care of one of her daughters, and she does not get to Dignitas, because that window probably closed two years earlier, and she will spend the rest of her life in a memory-care unit, and the best outcome I can hope for is that she dies soon. She does not die very soon and when we talk next, she is in the memory-care unit and she says, Something very strange is going on here, please come get me." As Alzheimer's becomes more prevalent, this shimmering love story and road map is must-read testimony.
You will never forget this book, and if you do, let's hope someone close to you remembers.