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The Light of the World

The Light of the World

A Memoir

“PULITZER PRIZE IN LETTERS: BIOGRAPHY FINALIST”
“NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRLE AWARDS AUTOBIOGRAPHY FINALIST”
 
New York Times Bestseller
First Lady Michelle Obama’s Favorite Book of 2015
A New Yorker, NPR, Boston Globe, Publisher’s Weekly, Newsday, Library Journal, People.com, Shelf Awareness, The Root, and St. Louis Dispact Best Book of 2015 Pick
New York Times Book Review Editor’s Choice
An Amazon’s Best Book of the Month, April 2015
IndieBound Indie Next #1 Pick, May 2015
A deeply resonant 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.
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Pulitzer Prize, 2016

Genre: Nonfiction / Biography & Autobiography / Personal Memoirs

On Sale: April 21st 2015

Price: $26 / $29 (CAD)

ISBN-13: 9781478904687

What's Inside

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Praise

"Love - for a marvelous man, for her sons, for the textures and pleasures of the world - shines on every page of Elizabeth Alexander's THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD. This acutely observed study of what it means to lose one's beloved is a profound and beautiful contradiction: a joyous book that faces head-on the deepest grief, written with art and courage, and with limitless heart."—Mark Doty

"This is a beautifully written, heartrendingly candid account of the abrupt loss of her husband by the distinguished poet Elizabeth Alexander. It is a vivid, intensely rendered elegy of a remarkable man--husband, father, artist, chef. Both a memoir and a portrait of a marriage, The Light of the World is, as its title suggests, a bittersweet testament to love and the memory of love, one of the most compelling memoirs of loss that I have ever read."—Joyce Carol Oates

"Elizabeth Alexander has written a brave and beautiful book about love and loss-the deep pain that comes with such a loss, and the redemptive realization that such pain is a small price to pay for such a love."—Jeannette Walls, New York Times bestselling author of The Glass Castle

"This is a gorgeous love story, written by one of America's greatest contemporary poets. Graceful in its simplicity, sweeping in scope, this book is proof that behind the boarded up windows of America's roiled marriages and ruined affairs, true love still exists, and where it does exist, it graces the world-and us-with light and hope. Elizabeth Alexander is a prose writer of deep talent and affecting skill. With ease, she peels back layer after layer to show the soft secrets of affection, the kindness, and the wide open generosity of a full hearted man and talented artist, who had more love to give in his relatively short lifetime than most of us will ever know."—James McBride, National Book Award-winning author of The Good Lord Bird and #1 New York Times bestseller The Color of Water

"THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD is as beautiful and moving as a gorgeous piece of music. The minute I finished it, I longed to read it again."—Anna Deavere Smith

Praise for Elizabeth Alexander

"Elizabeth Alexander creates intellectual magic in poem after poem."—The New York Times Book Review

"Elizabeth Alexander is a student, and dare I say, master of the craft. Her work is inspirational in a way that The Great Gatsby...is inspirational, in that it just says so much about who we are."—The Atlantic

"In narratives sweetened by the lyric pulse and pierced through by felicitous turns of irony, Alexander chronicles the world of 'black and tan.' Her poems bristle with the irresistible quality of a world seen fresh."—Rita Dove, The Washington Post

"[Alexander] seems much like Walt Whitman. She sings the American song."—Maya Angelou

"Professor Alexander is a virtuosic writer and a shrewd analyst of American letters, a polyglot who moves fluently from essay to sonnet, from free verse to drama--and in her teaching, traces equally diverse themes."—Slate

"Alexander explores tensions inherent in gender and race and expresses the ambivalence of motherhood in jazz-inflected tones."—ELLE

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