• Should I Still Wish: A Memoir (American Lives) by John W. Evans

REVIEW

A abbreviate but probing biography of affliction and happiness.

In a aftereffect to his debut memoir, Young Widower (2014), Evans (Creative Writing/Stanford Univ.) explores his abutting stages of activity afterward the afterlife of his wife, Katie. Married aloof three years at the time 30-year-old Katie was killed by a buck while walking in the dupe abreast Bucharest, Romania, the author sketches the bouncing deathwatch of that experience, including award new adulation and his consistent agitation of answerability circuitous with grief. He acquainted abashed to own the right to renewed, alike greater beatitude than he’d begin before. The appellation of the present annual reflects the author’s affective existential—almost ethical—question airish now nine years out from Katie’s death: “Shouldn’t I still ambition you hadn’t died?” Immediately afterwards the fact, this anticipation wasn’t even a question, but beneath than a year afterwards witnessing his wife’s traumatic end, it became a able bind for Evans back he begin new adulation with longtime acquaintance Cait, a woman he’d met in the Peace Corps at the aforementioned time he’d met Katie. While abundant memoirs about reckoning with the accident of a admired one demonstrate the perils of attempting to avoid grief, Evans’ self-study proves equally adorning in negotiating guilt. The columnist advised survivor’s guilt in his debut. Here, as Evans tries to appear to agreement with his new relationship with Cait, which led to their alliance and the births of three sons, it seems he’s attempting to address himself into a abode of absolution for accepting moved on. In a address to his adolescent son, Evans clandestinely reveals, “I appetite you to apperceive that I accept been blessed in my affection,” and after goes on to admit, “part of what I beggarly to call actuality is not affliction at all, I think, but forgetting.”

Evans’ poignant, authentically aimless annual offers aboveboard acumen into the baffling interplay of love, loss, and the analgesic of memory.

EDITORIAL REVIEW

In this candid and moving memoir, John W. Evans articulates the complicated joys of falling in love again as a young widower. Though heartbroken after his wife’s violent death, Evans realizes that he cannot remain inconsolable and adrift, living with his in-laws in Indiana. Motivated by a small red X on a map, Evans musters the courage for a cross-country trip. From the Badlands to Yellowstone to the foothills of the Sierra Mountains, Evans’s hope and determination propel him even as he contemplates his vulnerability and the legacy of a terrible tragedy.

Should I Still Wish chronicles Evans’s efforts to leave an intense year of grief behind, to make peace with the natural world again, and to reconnect with a woman who promises, like San Francisco itself, a life of abundance and charm. With unflinching honesty Evans plumbs the uncertainties, doubts, and contradictions of a paradoxical experience in this love story, celebration of fatherhood, meditation on the afterlife of grief and resilience, and, ultimately, showcase for life’s many profound incongruities.


 

 

Should I Still Wish: A Memoir (American Lives)

  • BookShould I Still Wish: A Memoir (American Lives)
  • Author:John W. Evans
  • ISBN:0803295227
  • ISBN-13:9780803295223
  • Binding:Paperback
  • Publishing Date:2017-01-01
  • Publisher:University of Nebraska Press
  • Language:English
  • Number Of pages:156