An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination: A Memoir by Elizabeth McCracken

By Elizabeth McCracken

"This is the happiest tale on the planet with the saddest ending," writes Elizabeth McCracken in her strong, inspiring memoir. A prize-winning, winning novelist in her 30s, McCracken was once satisfied to be an itinerant author and self-proclaimed spinster. yet unexpectedly she fell in love, received married, and years in the past used to be residing in a distant a part of France, engaged on her novel, and looking forward to the beginning of her first child.
This booklet is set what occurred subsequent. In her 9th month of being pregnant, she realized that her child boy had died. How do you care for and get over this sort of loss? in fact you don't--but you move on. And when you've got ever skilled loss or love anyone who has, the corporate of this striking publication may help you pass on.
With humor and heat and unfailing generosity, McCracken considers the character of affection and grief. She opens her middle and leaves all of ours the richer for it.

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The sad lady at the Florida library meant: the lighter side is not that your child has died — no lighter side to that — but that the child lived and died in this human realm, with its breathtaking sadness and dumb punch lines and hungry seagulls. That was the good news. She wasn’t going to pretend that he hadn’t, no matter how the mention of him made people shift and look away. A stillborn child is really only ever his death. He didn’t live: that’s how he’s defined. Once he fades from memory, there’s little evidence at all, nothing that could turn up, for instance, at a French flea market, or be handed down through the family.

Maud was in her late twenties, with messy boy-cut blond hair and a wicked sense of humor. Jack was about fifty, tall and thin and ponytailed: he looked like the bass player of some band that had been medium big in the 1970s. They both drank a lot. We called them the Sots. They invited us over to dinner parties with their other Anglophone friends: a plumber named Eric and his sad wife, Marie; straw hatted Ted and his wife, Elaine, who were older and more cheerful; and a voluble, chubby, sexy woman named Lola, who had a Greek boyfriend named Pete.

I e-mailed Dr. Bergerac to ask him if I could forgo it. He said no. Don’t worry! It’s not dangerous! But it is obligatory! And so I just never went back. (I’ve always thought I was five feet even, but at my six-week postpartum checkup, the nurse announced, much to my surprise, that I was five one. ) Of course it occurs to me that Pudding might have lived if I’d stuck with either Dr. Bergerac or Dr. Baltimore. It’s a low-decibel wistfulness; I can barely hear it over the roar of later, louder regrets.

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