The light of the world : a memoir

by Elizabeth Alexander

Hardcover, 2015





New York : Grand Central Publishing, 2015.


" In THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD, Elizabeth Alexander--poet, mother, and wife--finds herself at an existential crossroads after the sudden death of her husband, who was just 49. Reflecting with gratitude on the exquisite beauty of her married life that was, grappling with the subsequent void, and feeling a re-energized devotion to her two teenage sons, Alexander channels her poetic sensibilities into a rich, lucid prose that describes a very personal and yet universal quest for meaning, understanding, and acceptance. She examines the journey we take in life through the lens of her own emotional and intellectual evolution, taking stock of herself at the midcentury mark. Because so much of her poetry is personal or autobiographical in nature, her transition to memoir is seamless, guided by her passionate belief in the power of language, her determination to share her voyage of self-discovery with her boys, and her embrace of the principle that the unexamined life is not worth living. This beautifully written book is for anyone who has loved and lost. It's about being strong when you want to collapse, about being grateful when someone has been stolen from you--it's discovering the truth in your life's journey: the good, the bad, and the ugly. It's Elizabeth Alexander's story but it is all of our stories because it is about discovering what matters"--… (more)

User reviews

LibraryThing member Beamis12
I'm not a big personal memoir reader, generally I end up, thinking of them as pity memoirs but this book proves me wrong. When Ficre, Elizabeth's husband dies unexpectedly of a heart attack, Elizabeth must find a way to come to terms with her heart ache and grief. This is a beautiful testament to love, friendship, fatherhood, beginnings and endings, what a wonderful testament to a love that will never be forgotten even as her and her son's lives mist go on.

ARC from publisher.
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LibraryThing member Zonnywhoop
A touching memoir of a lost husband that tries a little too hard to project the best intentions of a marriage. The best parts were when Alexander was grappling with the reality of her loss (which she did with beautiful poetic abstraction cemented in tangible images). Far less effective was the inclusion of recipes (couldn't this have just been a footnote or appendix to the book?) and the forced descriptions of just how wonderfully cosmopolitan they were.… (more)
LibraryThing member c.archer
A touching and beautiful story of love and remembrance of a man by his wife.
LibraryThing member TNbookgroup
This is a love story that is a story of loss. The author is a poet and writes in beautiful prose about her husband and the life they shared with their children before his untimely death. He was an amazing man.
Lisa It is in hardback, paperback I am pretty sure and kindle. .
LibraryThing member Olivermagnus
In the spring of 2012, four days after his 50th-birthday party, Ficre Ghebreyesus had a heart attack while exercising on a treadmill in the home he shared with his wife, Elizabeth Alexander. Ficre was an artist, chef, poet, father, and beloved husband. This memoir documents mesmerizing essays from their life together as well as as scenes from his past in war torn Eritrea, where he grew up.

Elizabeth Alexander is a professor of poetry at Yale, and is best known for reading her poem “Praise Song for the Day” at President Obama’s 2009 inauguration. She has written a memoir that describes both meeting and losing her husband and the great love of her life. She touches on politics, race, art, food, and the incredible grief she experienced with he died. The Light of the World is painful, as well as powerful. It is difficult to believe that anyone who has suffered loss will remain unaffected while reading this.
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