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Guesswork : A Reckoning with Loss
by Martha Cooley


Overview - " A] splendid and subtle memoir in essays" -- The New York Times Book Review

Having lost eight friends in ten years, Cooley retreats to a tiny medieval village in Italy with her husband. There, in a rural paradise where bumblebees nest in the ancient cemetery and stray cats curl up on her bed, she examines a question both easily evaded and unavoidable: mortality.  Read more...


 
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More About Guesswork by Martha Cooley
 
 
 
Overview
" A] splendid and subtle memoir in essays" --The New York Times Book Review

Having lost eight friends in ten years, Cooley retreats to a tiny medieval village in Italy with her husband. There, in a rural paradise where bumblebees nest in the ancient cemetery and stray cats curl up on her bed, she examines a question both easily evaded and unavoidable: mortality. How do we grieve? How do we go on drinking our morning coffee, loving our life partners, stumbling through a world of such confusing, exquisite beauty?

Linking the essays is Cooley's escalating understanding of another loss on the way, that of her ailing mother back in the States. Blind since Cooley's childhood, her mother relies on dry wit to ward off grief and pity. There seems no way for the two of them to discuss her impending death. But somehow, by the end, Cooley finds the words, each one graceful and wrenching.

Part memoir, part loving goodbye to an unconventional parent, Guesswork transforms a year in a pastoral hill town into a fierce examination of life, love, death, and, ultimately, release.

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9781936787463
  • ISBN-10: 1936787466
  • Publisher: Catapult
  • Publish Date: April 2017
  • Page Count: 192
  • Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.4 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.55 pounds


Related Categories

Books > Biography & Autobiography > Women
Books > Biography & Autobiography > Personal Memoirs
Books > Travel > Europe - Italy

 
Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
  • Review Date: 2017-01-16
  • Reviewer: Staff

Cooleys (Thirty-Three Swoons) touching memoir recounts a year living in the rural Italian village of Castiglione del Terziere, a castle town, wherein the off-seasonthere are only a dozen or so residents. Cooley and her husband Antonio, both fiction writers and translators, take a leisurely approach to country living. Though the book begins as a love letter to Castiglione, it turns into an introspective family memoir. Cooley meditates on her parents deteriorating health and contemplates the deaths of friendsa rabbit hole of lossthat preceded her move to Italy. Once in Italy, she visits the Costa Concordia shipwreck, gets to know the other women in town, and becomes deeply familiar with the cats of Castiglione. In the midst of tragedy, Cooley finds solace in literature and poetry, quoting poets such as Zbigniew Herbert, T.S. Eliot, Walt Whitman, and Philip Larkin. Her devotion to her mother is intertwined with her devotion to literature. As her mother slowly goes blind, their shared love of reading, or listening to books, unites them. Like the ill-fated Costa Concordia, Cooley must learn to steer amidst obstacles, and though her passage is not always smooth, it is instructive and humanizing. (May)

 
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