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Should I Still Wish: A Memoir (American Lives) Paperback – January 1, 2017
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Named a New & Noteworthy book for January/February 2017 by Poets & Writers magazine.
"Should I Still Wish reads like a Greek tragedy with deep Peace Corps roots... the author uses dreams, memories and a series of compelling stories to describe the stages of grief, guilt, fear and hope he lived through on his way to a new life as he falls in love again as a young widower."--Peace Corps Writers
"Grief is never easy to read about--it's a bitter pill that sticks halfway in the throat--but Evans makes it palatable, dare I say delicious, with his remarkable prose and storytelling."-David Abrams, Front Porch Books
"While Wish is focused on his rebuilding a life, his sense of shame and loss is nearly palpable. A somber but hopeful love letter, Wish views his young family’s shared joys with an eye toward the future."--STANFORD magazine
About the Author
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In his second memoir, the author uses dreams, memories and a series of compelling stories to describe the stages of grief, guilt, fear and hope he lived through on his way to a new life as he falls in love again as a young widower. His new love, Cate, had attended the wedding and three years later, Katie’s funeral, and during the first months after Katie’s death had mailed a “care package” from the Bay Area.
Though heartbroken and lonely after his wife’s untimely death he realizes that he cannot remain inconsolable, dwelling on the past, even as he’s living with his in-laws in Indiana. He sees a therapist who helps him deal with the guilt and set a path forward to a new life, one which would shift from Indianapolis to San Francisco.
At one point he reveals hauntingly that he could leave his routine “but never forget Katie’s voice.” He shared his most intimate dreams of both Katie and Cate with graphic imagery, such as the fact that Katie’s death anniversary was on the “longest evening of the year.”
Evans’ journey to recovery begins with a cross-country trip from the Badlands to the majesty of Yellowstone to the foothills of the Sierra Mountains, and the time contemplating his vulnerability and the legacy of a horrific tragedy.
“Should I Still Wish” chronicles the author’s efforts to leave a year of intense grief behind in order to make a new life by reconnecting with a woman who promises a new life of meaning and grace. With unflinching honesty, he explores the uncertainties, doubts and contradictions which eventually will lead to a new love story, celebration of fatherhood, meditation on the afterlife of grief and resilience and an inspirational story which leads to a new wife and beautiful children of his own.
The author is an accomplished professor of creative writing at Stanford and his book The Consolations was the winner of the 2015 Peace Corps Writers Best Poetry Book. Should I Still Wish will come out in January 2017 and can be pre-ordered – something I’d highly recommend for anyone looking for a moving memoir of love’s recovery.
In Should I Still Wish Evans renews a friendship with Cait, whom he also met ten years earlier while serving with the Peace Corps in Bangladesh. The memoir begins one year after the violent death of his first wife.
John and Cait eventually marry and have three sons. The author uses dreams, memories, and second-person accounts akin to letters to his first son and to his deceased wife, to share his struggle through the various stages of grief and recovery. He writes of his desire to make peace with the natural world again, and to acknowledge life’s abundant joys.
Should I Still Wish is a moving story of second chances and daring to love again. Evans is an excellent writer who has a talent for describing intricate details of emotions and scenes. He teaches creative writing at Stanford University.