Grief Map by Sarah Hahn Campbell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I snagged a copy of this when I saw it was set in Alaska and that fit within my reading goals for the year. What I found was a reflective look at a relationship that ended in a grief multiplied by several factors - mental illness, having to leave, and the death of the person left. That's a lot of things to work through!
The book is written in brief segments, sometimes they are more like memoir and tell the story of Sarah and Lia. Sometimes they are more like creative non-fiction, utilizing elements of physical objects like atlas keys and autopsy reports. Sometimes they are dreams, which serve to show the author working through the emotional and sub-conscious elements of grief and memory.
The story of the relationship itself is worth the read of this book. Both Sarah and Lia were married to men when they met, and the gradual realization of their love for one another is beautiful and painful. The sacrifices made by both and the struggle to form new identities within the other make the separation and death even more poignant.
There is also this Alaskan element, which really does figure into the narrative. Is there just something about the type of people who thrive in difficult climates? That survival instinct seems important here as well.
Thanks to the publisher for providing access to this backlisted title through Edelweiss. (Backlisted = it is already out.)
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