Letters from the Land of Cancer
Overview - In Letters from the Land of Cancer, award-winning writer Walter Wangerin Jr. offers his profound insights into the greatest challenge we face: confronting our own mortality. Shortly after the cancer had been diagnosed I began writing letters to the members of my immediate family, to relatives and to lifelong friends. Read more...
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More About Letters from the Land of Cancer by Walter Wangerin
In Letters from the Land of Cancer, award-winning writer Walter Wangerin Jr. offers his profound insights into the greatest challenge we face: confronting our own mortality. Shortly after the cancer had been diagnosed I began writing letters to the members of my immediate family, to relatives and to lifelong friends. The following book will consist mostly of those letters. They will invite you into my most intimate dancing with the cancer, even as that partner and I have over the last two years swung each other around the tiled floors of ballrooms and bathrooms. Dizzy still, and day by day, I sat and wrote: This is what I m feeling right now. This is what I think. From afternoon to afternoon of radiation, Wangerin wrote about confronting his mortality, about living with the messiness of undone tasks and bodily weakness. He wrote about the medical procedures he endured, the wild mood swings that unbalanced his days, and the fragilities and strengths of the relationships that surrounded him. Letters from the Land of Cancer is made up of these writings. Cadenced within the letters are Wangerin s eloquent meditations derived from his pastoral experiences with the faithful passage of death to life. Seldom has the great adventure of life and death been as beautifully presented as it is in this testimony to faith, love, and the shocking reality of hope."
Publishers Weekly Reviews
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
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The prospect of hanging concentrates the mind wonderfully, wrote essayist Samuel Johnson. In the case of prolific writer and teacher Wangerin (Saint Julian), a diagnosis of lung cancer drove him not to despair but to writing, his usual mode of making sense of things. He tells his family it’s an adventure; cancer is his wrestling with God and the big questions, as mortality gets right up in his face. A series of 22 letters—addressed mostly to friends to convey news of his progress—and seven meditations recapitulate the long, pain-filled journey through chemotherapy and radiation treatment so strong it eventually, literally, takes his breath away, diminishing tumors and lung capacity. Wangerin’s detailing is concrete, from the joy of touching his grandchild’s finger to the who-knew? myriad changes wrought by mortal illness. Faith may be his armor, but he is no noble knight, revealing peevishness, arrogance, self-absorption. No one speaks from the other side, but Wangerin, his cancer now sleeping, has gone before us with fierce honesty, peering over the edge and reporting. (Feb.)