An award-winning novelist presents a poignant account of coping with a parent's cancer diagnosis and death in 1997. Despite chapters begun by definitions of medical terms (e.g., twilight sleep, metastasis), Brown (Goddard College, Vermont) relates in more personal than clinical terms the progression of her mother's illness and the family's relationship with her during that period. The book was first published in 2001 in a limited handset edition by Grey Spider Press. Annotation ©2004 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR
This brief text encompasses the time the author spent with her mother, who was dying from cancer. Brown (The End of Youth; The Gifts of the Body) stayed at her mother's home in New Mexico during the stages of testing, diagnosis, and therapy. Each section of the book (e.g., anemia, resistance, morphine, unction) relates to a different process, another word in the disease lexicon. Brown eschews most of the medical jargon, the specifics, defining only those things that are necessary to help the reader comprehend. The chemotherapy was rough, the pain was severe, vomit is a noun as well as a verb. There are no lessons here, more feelings than facts, more artlessness than artifice. But Brown loved her mother, who had always done the driving. "The world she needed to know of was another. It was a world we could not understand or go to. She was going there without us." Written more like an epic poem, this book is recommended for most library collections.-Bette-Lee Fox, "Library Journal" Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.