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Safe Suicide: Narratives, Essays, and Meditations Paperback – January 31, 2008
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As with any flat-out wonderful book, a few words of praise cannot begin to do it justice. But here goes: SAFE SUCIDE is elegantly written, edgy, touching, inventive, surprising in its shifts of style and form, and completely spellbinding from start to finish. Partly memoir, partly a sequence of interlocked essays, this is a book that works its way under your skin and down into your vital organs. It is really, really good.
--Tim O’Brien, author of THE THINGS THEY CARRIED
In this interconnected collection of autobiographical essays, we're brought into the fascinating life of a Boston-area novelist and editor struggling to build a viable writing career, sustain an important literary journal, and become a loving husband, father, and friend. Since these struggles are all accompanied by drama and pain (but also by unexpected pleasures), DeWitt Henry's vivid collection reads like an absorbing coming-of-age memoir.
--Chuck Leddy, THE BOSTON GLOBE
Henry’s essays in different literary magazines are personal, telling, engrossing. The style is flowing, unpretentious, filled with the details and dialogue of good fiction that bring personal experience to life. In his quiet way, with genuine modesty, he tackles the deepest, most difficult themes and does not flinch from seeing them clearly no matter what they reveal. This is a writer who earns the reader’s trust and respect.
--Dan Wakefield, author of GOING ALL THE WAY
Henry is an insightful observer who is also a prose stylist of the first rank.
--Richard Hoffman, author of HALF THE HOUSE
Safe Suicide is a powerful, deeply reflective account of the writer's struggle
to find meaning in our disappointments and the transcendent joy of our successes
in life. In an age where honesty in a memoir has become something of a rare
commodity, it takes real courage to show both our strengths and weaknesses, and
clearly this author is a brave soul. DeWitt Henry, a long distance runner, reminds us all that it is the race itself, not the simple crossing of the finish line, that defines the true
measure of our character.
---- James Brown author of THE LOS ANGELES DIARIES: A MEMOIR
SAFE SUICIDE offers an enthralling portrait of the life of the artist as a husband, a father, an editor, a teacher, a runner, and a dog owner. DeWitt Henry writes with fearless beauty and honesty about his many, often irreconcilable passions. Here is a life lived over time and the result is thought-provoking, absorbing, and deeply moving.
--Margot Livesey, author of BANISHING VERONA: A NOVEL
In Safe Suicide, an assemblage of revealing, interrelated essays, DeWitt Henry...offers up to us his world, honest and intimate. Henry's writing is confessional, yes, but these episodes don't feel designed to shock. More so, they're an acknowledgement of the strange, strained intimacies we share....Throughout, Henry is able to imbue weight and significance to the daily trials....And throughout, he demonstrates a reverence and a respect for his family, his fellow writers, his students, and the onward thumping push of life.
--Nina McLaughlin, The Phoenix
About the Author
Ploughshares, which DeWitt Henry directed for its first twenty years, and for which he received a Massachusetts Commonwealth Award in 1992, is regarded as one of the leading literary magazines in the country. Henry s novel, The Marriage of Anna Maye Potts, won the inaugural Peter Taylor Prize. Jack Smith wrote: The novel evokes in the reader a sense for the power of the heart and will to transform one s self and to make claims on what s rightfully one s own. The same can be said for Safe Suicide (Red Hen Press, 2008). Henry is a professor at Emerson College in Boston. He has also edited five anthologies, including Sorrows Company: Writers on Loss and Grief and (with James Alan McPherson) Fathering Daughters: Reflections by Men. He is working on a childhood memoir and novel."
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Rarely will you read such balanced, heady material about fathering a grown daughter as "wide-Eyed;" about dealing with a son and heir in his late teens as "Besmirched;" about rediscovering pleasure and esteem in the partner of a long marriage than "Arias." Throughout, Henry relies on a rare sensuality, not so much one of tongue and finger as of the encompassing reflection, the unexpected connection. His closing essay on running the Boston Marathon, for instance (and Heartbreak Hill, I must add, was a challenge this college professor met not once but several times), has a title that has nothing to do with stories of triumph over adversity, the wearisome fare of the cable channels. Rather. Henry's final piece bears a title far more full of heart, and one that carries the classic resonance of the entire book: "On Aging."
Most recent customer reviews
I agree with the masses on the beauty, depth, and intelligence of this book. This book defies conventional memoir and experiments with a show and tell type...Read more