An Amazon Best Book of April 2015: Elizabeth Alexander’s memoir of her marriage and the sudden death of her husband is by turns sorrowful and joyful, earthy and elegiac, deeply personal and achingly universal. Alexander, an acclaimed poet perhaps best known for the poem she delivered at Barack Obama’s first inauguration, is a professor at Yale. (In an aside, she reveals that she is only the 3rd African American woman to get tenure at that University.) Her husband, Ficre, was an Eritrean who’d survived civil war in Africa to become a chef and artist in America; their marriage, as chronicled here, was a triumph of politics, society and romance. It was not without its secrets or its difficulties, but it was clearly a happy, no, make that a joyful union; the pleasures of cooking together (Alexander sometimes includes recipes), entertaining a huge, international group of family and friends and raising their two precocious boys is palpable on every mellifluous page. Like Joan Didion, Meghan O’Rourke and Roger Rosenblatt before her, Alexander here faces the unfaceable topic of loss — and almost convinces us – and herself – that despite her terrible grief, she is grateful for the life and love that preceded it.
A deeply resonant New York Times Bestselling memoir for anyone who has loved and lost, from acclaimed poet and Pulitzer Prize finalist Elizabeth Alexander.
In THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD, Elizabeth Alexander finds herself at an existential crossroads after the sudden death of her husband. Channeling her poetic sensibilities into a rich, lucid price, Alexander tells a love story that is, itself, a story of loss. As she reflects on the beauty of her married life, the trauma resulting from her husband’s death, and the solace found in caring for her two teenage sons, Alexander universalizes a very personal quest for meaning and acceptance in the wake of loss.
THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD is at once an endlessly compelling memoir and a deeply felt meditation on the blessings of love, family, art, and community. It is also a lyrical celebration of a life well-lived and a paean to the priceless gift of human companionship. For those who have loved and lost, or for anyone who cares what matters most, THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD is required reading.