From Publishers Weekly
"Jane Kenyon died of leukemia at 7:57 in the morning, April 22, 1995" is the first sentence of this unsparing and beautifully structured memoir. She was only 47, and the struggle was harrowing, but it followed 23 years of an extraordinarily happy marriage between poets, blissful despite the difference in their ages (19 years; she had been his student), and her illness and chronic clinical depression. Alternating with the meticulous account of the progress of Kenyon's disease are warm, joyful chapters as Hall recalls their time together. They lived quietly in a New Hampshire farmhouse that had been in Hall's family for generations, "the house of poetry, which was also the house of love and grief; the house of solitude and art; the house of Jane's depression and my cancers and Jane's leukemia." As increasingly famous poets, Hall and Kenyon traveled, on reading tours around America and abroad. Hall's impressions of China, Japan and especially India, which they both loved, make vivid reading. Also glowing are the portraits of friends, relatives and the caregivers who crowded into their lives. Hall wrote about Kenyon's illness and death in his 1998 book of poems, Without
, but this heartfelt memoir should reach people who seldom read poetry and could be a natural for reading groups. Agent, Gerald McCauley. (May 1)
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"An account of her illness, their life together, and the calming landscape of New England...a gem." USA Today
"A bright, wonderful book." --New York Observer
"A fearful and beautiful history." Boston Globe
"Elegantly and lovingly tells the story of their life together." --Christian Century
"Marriage, art, and illness are all treated with wisdom in Hall's account." New York Sun
"Haunting...The language is spare, clean, very readable." --Poetry
"[The Best Day the Worst Day] aims to show us the sacredness of the everyday, the magical qualities of the circle of life...Hall is such an evocative writer." --Book World The Washington Post
"[A] moving portrait of marriage." The Miami Herald
"Hall has turned his pain into art that can inspire and help others deal with loss." The Oregonian
"Hall portrays the creative, peaceful life [he and Jane Kenyon] carved out for themselves...A moving tribute, unsparingly honest." Kirkus Reviews