The Bright Hour: A Memoir of Living and Dying

May 24, 2018 - Comment

* INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER * “Stunning…heartrending…this year’s When Breath Becomes Air.” —Nora Krug, The Washington Post “Beautiful and haunting.” —Matt McCarthy, MD, USA TODAY “Deeply affecting…simultaneously heartbreaking and funny.” —People (Book of the Week) “Vivid, immediate.” —Laura Collins-Hughes, The Boston Globe Starred reviews from * Kirkus Reviews * Publishers Weekly * Library Journal

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(as of April 19, 2020 9:48 pm GMT+0000 - Details)

* INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER *

“Stunning…heartrending…this year’s When Breath Becomes Air.” —Nora Krug, The Washington Post

“Beautiful and haunting.” —Matt McCarthy, MD, USA TODAY

“Deeply affecting…simultaneously heartbreaking and funny.” —People (Book of the Week)

“Vivid, immediate.” —Laura Collins-Hughes, The Boston Globe

Starred reviews from * Kirkus Reviews * Publishers Weekly * Library Journal *

Best Books of 2017 Selection by * The Washington Post *

Most Anticipated Summer Reading Selection by * The Washington Post * Entertainment Weekly * Glamour * The Seattle Times * Vulture * InStyle * Bookpage * Bookriot * Real Simple * The Atlanta Journal-Constitution *

The New York Times bestseller by poet Nina Riggs, mother of two young sons and the direct descendant of Ralph Waldo Emerson, is “a stunning…heart-rending meditation on life…It is this year’s When Breath Becomes Air” (The Washington Post).

We are breathless but we love the days. They are promises. They are the only way to walk from one night to the other.

Poet and essayist Nina Riggs was just thirty-seven years old when initially diagnosed with breast cancer—one small spot. Within a year, she received the devastating news that her cancer was terminal.

How does a dying person learn to live each day “unattached to outcome”? How does one approach the moments, big and small, with both love and honesty? How does a young mother and wife prepare her two young children and adored husband for a loss that will shape the rest of their lives? How do we want to be remembered?

Exploring motherhood, marriage, friendship, and memory, Nina asks: What makes a meaningful life when one has limited time? “Profound and poignant” (O, The Oprah Magazine), The Bright Hour is about how to make the most of all the days, even the painful ones. It’s about the way literature, especially Nina’s direct ancestor, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and her other muse, Montaigne, can be a balm and a form of prayer.

Brilliantly written and exceptionally moving, it’s a “deeply affecting memoir, a simultaneously heartbreaking and funny account of living with loss and the specter of death. As Riggs lyrically, unflinchingly details her reality, she finds beauty and truth that comfort even amid the crushing sadness” (People, Book of the Week).

Tender and heartwarming, The Bright Hour “is a gentle reminder to cherish each day” (Entertainment Weekly, Best New Books) and offers us this important perspective: “You can read a multitude books about how to die, but Riggs, a dying woman, will show you how to live” (The New York Times Book Review, Editor’s Choice).An Amazon Best Book of June 2017: The poet Nina Riggs was 38 years old and living with her young family in Greensboro, North Carolina when doctors discovered a small spot of cancer in her breast. What at first seemed easily treatable turned out not to be, and she found herself in what Montaigne – the writer she turns to for wisdom — called “suspicious country”: a place where death might be just around the corner. In The Bright Hour, the book Riggs wrote during her ultimately terminal illness, she maps that country, determined to see what is lovely in the landscape: her sweet, expressive little boys, her husband, who is honest and funny whenever possible, and her circle of family and friends, some of whom are also going through treatment for cancer. Riggs’s great-great-great grandfather was the poet-philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson (referred to here as RWE for short) and Riggs herself displays a formidable gift for language and a light but honest touch with the often — but not always — dark emotions evoked by her situation. To call a book so lovely and sad this year’s When Breath Becomes Air, would not be inaccurate, but would not do it justice. –Sarah Harrison Smith, The Amazon Book Review

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