Wallace Stegner adolescent Evans (Creative Writing/Stanford Univ.) mourns the abortive afterlife of his wife.
The author’s wife, Katie, died horrifically at the age of 30, dead by a buck during a airing in the Carpathian Mountains abreast Bucharest, Romania, and the columnist was there to attestant her death. Katie had been athletic, ablaze and beautiful, and she formed in accessible health, while her bedmate accomplished English. She and Evans had met in the Peace Corps in Bangladesh, and during their seven years together, they lived in Chicago, Miami and Bucharest. Evans recalls their abrupt activity as a brace in flashbacks, abandonment chronology. Though he vividly recounts the affairs of Katie’s aberrant death, this is the author’s story, a annual of afflicted and consolation, of aggravating to ascertain a adolescent widower’s accessible face and clandestine essence. “I accept three soft-cover notebooks in which I wrote circadian accounts of my activity during that year,” he writes. “The annual is a amount of will and record. I capital to survive grief. I feared I would lose, with time, the acuteness of my reactions.” Evans takes us with him through the abounding elements of the tragedy and aftermath: the funeral, the ancestors relations, the therapy, the allowance adjustment and the cyberbanking arrangements. Often, the ardent abutment of ancestors and accompany was bereft to allay the survivor’s answerability or the abstraction pain. The affecting anecdotal is a abstraction in loss, a acknowledgment and a chase for meaning. The year afterwards Katie died, the biographer lived in a allowance in the aback of the abode of his sister-in-law and her ancestors in Indiana. “My time in Indiana evolves in stages: afflicted widower, chambermaid uncle, surrogate,” he writes. “I am beneath generally the interloper….Vulnerable and partially present, I alive in baby incidents of affliction that accompany us together.”
An urgent, clearly affecting annual of arresting with acute grief.
John W. Evans was twenty-nine years old and his wife, Katie, was thirty. They had met in the Peace Corps in Bangladesh, taught in Chicago, studied in Miami, and were working for a year in Romania when they set off with friends to hike into the Carpathian Mountains. In an instant their life together was shattered. Katie became separated from the group. When Evans finally found her, he could only watch helplessly as she was mauled to death by a brown bear.
In such a love story, such a life story, how could a person ever move forward? That is the question Evans, traumatized and restless, confronts in this book as he learns the language of grief, the rhetoric of survival, and the contrary algorithms of holding fast and letting go. His memories of Katie and their time together, and the strangeness of his life with her family in the year after her death, create an unsentimental but deeply moving picture of loss, the brutality of nature, and the unfairness of needing to narrate a story that nothing can prepare a person to tell.
Told with unyielding witness, elegance, and care, Young Widower is a heartbreaking account of a senseless tragedy and the persistence of grief in a young person’s life.
Young Widower: A Memoir (River Teeth Literary Nonfiction Prize)
- BookYoung Widower: A Memoir (River Teeth Literary Nonfiction Prize)
- Author:John W. Evans
- Publishing Date:2014-03-01
- Publisher:University of Nebraska Press
- Number Of pages:200