ARCs about Loss – Disaster Falls and Setting Free the Kites
December 15, 2016
These are first-person accounts, one a memoir about parents recovering from a child’s loss and one a coming-of-age novel (bildungsroman in German/cataloguese) coming out in January and late February. Setting Free the Kites is getting quite a bit of buzz in chats, etc. Comment to claim.
Gerson, Stéphane. Disaster Falls : A Family Story. Crown, January.
A haunting chronicle of what endures when the world we know is swept away. On a day like any other, on a rafting trip down Utah’s Green River, Stéphane Gerson’s eight-year-old son, Owen, drowned in a spot known as Disaster Falls. That same night, as darkness fell, Stéphane huddled in a tent with his wife, Alison, and their older son, Julian, trying to understand what seemed inconceivable. “It’s just the three of us now,” Alison said over the sounds of a light rain and, nearby, the rushing river. “We cannot do it alone. We have to stick together.” Disaster Falls chronicles the aftermath of that day and their shared determination to stay true to Alison’s resolution. At the heart of the book is Stéphane’s portrait of a marriage critically tested. Husband and wife grieve in radically different ways that threaten to isolate each of them in their post-Owen worlds. (He feels so far,” Stéphane says, when Alison shows him a selfie Owen had taken. “He feels so close,” she says.) With beautiful specificity, Stéphane shows how they resist that isolation and reconfigure their marriage from within. As Stephane navigates his grief, the memoir expands to explore how society reacts to the death of a child. He depicts the “good death” of his father, which enlarges Stéphane’s perspective on mortality. He excavates the history of the Green River–rife with hazards not mentioned in the rafting company’s brochures. He explores how stories can both memorialize and obscure a person’s life–and how they can rescue us. Disaster Falls is a powerful account of a life cleaved in two–raw, truthful, and unexpectedly consoling.
George, Alex. Setting Free the Kites. G. P. Putnam, February 21.
“For Robert Carter, life in his coastal Maine hometown is comfortably predictable. But in 1976, on his first day of eighth grade, he meets Nathan Tilly, who changes everything. Nathan is confident, fearless, impetuous-and fascinated by kites and flying. Robert and Nathan’s budding friendship is forged in the crucible of two family tragedies, and as the boys struggle to come to terms with loss, they take summer jobs at the local rundown amusement park. It’s there that Nathan’s boundless capacity for optimism threatens to overwhelm them both, and where they learn some harsh truths about family, desire, and revenge. Unforgettable and heart-breaking, Setting Free the Kites is a poignant and moving exploration of the pain, joy, and glories of young friendship.”