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FI by Alexandra Fuller Kirkus Star


A Memoir of My Son

by Alexandra Fuller

Pub Date: April 9th, 2024
ISBN: 9780802161048
Publisher: Grove

A parent’s brave memoir about the death of her son at age 21.

The summer before her 50th birthday, Fuller, the author of multiple acclaimed nonfiction books, was not where she expected to be in life: divorced, in a relationship with a younger woman, missing her home country of Zimbabwe, and mourning her father’s death and her mother’s estrangement. Then, her son, Fi, died suddenly. “I couldn’t see my hand in front of my face; it was that dark,” she writes. As she worked through her grief, she also had to care for her two heartbroken daughters. Raised by a mother who descended into all-consuming depression following the unexpected deaths of three of Fuller’s siblings, the author was determined not to abandon her own children in the same way. “I didn’t survive and also…I did,” she writes, movingly. “Fi died, and everything that I’d believed until then blinked out with him.” In the wake of immense loss, what remains? With clear, luminous prose and courageous insight, Fuller investigates. Whether seeking spirituality in a sheep wagon in the mountains of Wyoming, at a grief retreat in New Mexico, or on the beaches of Hawaii, the author has never ceased yearning, searching, and believing in her family. As much about love as it is about grief, this book is a roadmap for loss. “The way a pilot sees wind in clouds or a sailor reads currents in water,” she writes, “I look unconsciously for stories to remind me where I am, to remind me that whatever I’m going through, millions have been here before, are here now, will be here again.” The writing is so stunning, immediate, and heartfelt that the book is often as difficult to read as it is to put down.

A true marvel of a memoir, simultaneously beautiful and devastating.