After the Eclipse

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A New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice | A Barnes & Noble Discover Pick | A BookPage Best Book of the Year | A Poets & Writers Notable Nonfiction Debut of the Year
 
“Stunning . . . A graceful and powerful memorial.”—Entertainment Weekly
 
“Raw and perfect.”—Laura Miller, Slate
 
When Sarah Perry was twelve, she saw a partial eclipse; she took it as a good omen for her and her mother, Crystal. But that moment of darkness foreshadowed a much larger one: two days later, Crystal was murdered in their home in rural Maine.
            It took twelve years to find the killer. In that time, Sarah rebuilt her life amid abandonment, police interrogations, and the exacting toll of trauma. She dreamed of a trial, but when the day came, it brought no closure. It was not her mother’s death she wanted to understand, but her life. She began her own investigation, one that drew her back to Maine, deep into the darkness of a small American town. A memoir of “unerring power and hard-won wisdom” and a “tender elegy”* for a mother lost, with After the Eclipse “Perry succeeds in restoring her mother’s humanity and her own” (New York Times Book Review).

* Margo Jefferson
 
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About the author

SARAH PERRY has an MFA from Columbia University, where she served as publisher of Columbia: A Journal of Literature and Art. Her writing has appeared in Elle, the Guardian, Lenny Letter, Nylon, and elsewhere.
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4.4
7 total
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Additional Information

Publisher
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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Published on
Sep 26, 2017
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Pages
368
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ISBN
9780544302211
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / Literary Figures
Biography & Autobiography / Personal Memoirs
True Crime / Murder / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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One mother's son is killed in a tragic accident; another's daughter murders two people in a wild rage. From these bitter facts, Beverly Lowry--the first child's mother and an acclaimed novelist--has fashioned a memoir in which the objectivity of true-crime reportage resonates with acute feeling and even, ultimately, with redemption.

In Houston, in the early morning hours of June 13, 1983, twenty-three-year-old Karla Faye Tucker showed up with two friends at the apartment of a man they hated, Jerry Lynn Dean. Fired by a lost weekend of drugs and bravado, during which their grievances against Jerry Lynn became magnified out of all proportion, they had it in mind to steal motorcycle parts. Maybe to scare him a little. But by the time they left, both Dean and his chance, one-night companion had been murdered with such thorough wickedness as to ensure Karla's place among the handful of young white women on Death Row in this country.

The next fall, outside of Austin, Beverly Lowry's son Peter, after an increasingly troubled adolescence, was back in high school and back living at home when he was killed--an unsolved hit-and-run. He was eighteen. The despair that descended into Lowry's life seemed without end, but eventually and almost inevitably she became obsessed by the beautiful young killer whose photograph she'd seen in a Houston newspaper. "If Peter hadn't been killed," she writes, "I would not have made that first trip up to see Karla Faye."

In Crossed Over, Beverly Lowry reveals how Tucker, a full-time addict and part-time prostitute, had been dealt this fate as a child--only to pursue it relentlessly herself in Houston's violent subculture of bikers and outlaws. Working backward from the murders, Lowry delves into character and motive, looking for reasons that might explain these unthinkable acts. But this is also an account of the unlikely and powerful friendship between a writer--a mother--coming to terms with her loss and a young woman who, even under the sentence of death, begins the life she'd never before had a chance to lead.

Crossed Over is a story of crime and punishment, but more importantly it explores the connection between grief and hope, and between different kinds of victims. In the end, what Beverly Lowry uncovers is the unexpected ability of life, however blighted the circumstances, to assert its best, most urgent claim upon us.
A true-crime, coming-of-age story with a tragic twist: a New York editor’s quest to uncover the truth about the brutal murder of her wild and seductive friend in a “riveting…and thoughtful examination of how we grow up and apart” (Cosmopolitan).

As girls growing up in rural New Jersey in the late 1980s, Ashley and Carolyn had everything in common: two outsiders who loved spending afternoons exploring the woods. Only when the girls attended different high schools did they begin to grow apart. While Carolyn struggled to fit in, Ashley quickly became a hot girl: popular, extroverted, and sexually precocious.

After high school, Carolyn entered college in New York City and Ashley ended up in Los Angeles, where she quit school to work as a stripper and an escort, dating actors and older men, and experimenting with drugs. The last time Ashley visited New York, Carolyn was shocked by how they had grown apart. One year later, Ashley was stabbed to death at age twenty-two in her Hollywood home.

“Original and engaging” (Kirkus Reviews), The Hot One is the story of Carolyn’s emotional quest to find out what really happened to her oldest friend. It’s a journey that takes her through the hills of Hollywood, into courtrooms in Los Angeles, to strip clubs in Las Vegas, and back to her own childhood memories as she tries to unravel why she and Ashley became so different. How did Ashley end up the overtly sexual risk-taker—the hot one—while Carolyn was seen as the smart one, the observer? Carolyn’s “memoir will shock and fascinate” (Booklist) readers as she explores the power of female friendships and pays tribute to the ones that stay with you long after they’re gone.
A Kirkus Review Best Book of 2017 and a Washington Post Notable Work of Fiction. Winner of the British Book Awards Fiction Book of the Year and overall Book of the Year, selected as the Waterstones Book of the Year, and a Costa Book Award Finalist

"A novel of almost insolent ambition--lush and fantastical, a wild Eden behind a garden gate...it's part ghost story and part natural history lesson, part romance and part feminist parable. I found it so transporting that 48 hours after completing it, I was still resentful to be back home."  -New York Times

“An irresistible new novel…the most delightful heroine since Elizabeth Bennet in Pride and Prejudice…By the end, The Essex Serpent identifies a mystery far greater than some creature ‘from the illuminated margins of a manuscript’: friendship.”  -Washington Post

"Richly enjoyable... Ms. Perry writes beautifully and sometimes agreeably sharply... The Essex Serpent is a wonderfully satisfying novel. Ford Madox Ford thought the glory of the novel was its ability to make the reader think and feel at the same time. This one does just that." -Wall Street Journal

An exquisitely talented young British author makes her American debut with this rapturously acclaimed historical novel, set in late nineteenth-century England, about an intellectually minded young widow, a pious vicar, and a rumored mythical serpent that explores questions about science and religion, skepticism, and faith, independence and love.

When Cora Seaborne’s brilliant, domineering husband dies, she steps into her new life as a widow with as much relief as sadness: her marriage was not a happy one. Wed at nineteen, this woman of exceptional intelligence and curiosity was ill-suited for the role of society wife. Seeking refuge in fresh air and open space in the wake of the funeral, Cora leaves London for a visit to coastal Essex, accompanied by her inquisitive and obsessive eleven-year old son, Francis, and the boy’s nanny, Martha, her fiercely protective friend.

While admiring the sites, Cora learns of an intriguing rumor that has arisen further up the estuary, of a fearsome creature said to roam the marshes claiming human lives. After nearly 300 years, the mythical Essex Serpent is said to have returned, taking the life of a young man on New Year’s Eve. A keen amateur naturalist with no patience for religion or superstition, Cora is immediately enthralled, and certain that what the local people think is a magical sea beast may be a previously undiscovered species. Eager to investigate, she is introduced to local vicar William Ransome. Will, too, is suspicious of the rumors. But unlike Cora, this man of faith is convinced the rumors are caused by moral panic, a flight from true belief.

These seeming opposites who agree on nothing soon find themselves inexorably drawn together and torn apart—an intense relationship that will change both of their lives in ways entirely unexpected.

Hailed by Sarah Waters as "a work of great intelligence and charm, by a hugely talented author," The Essex Serpent is "irresistible . . . you can feel the influences of Mary Shelley, Bram Stoker, Wilkie Collins, Charles Dickens, and Hilary Mantel channeled by Perry in some sort of Victorian séance. This is the best new novel I’ve read in years" (Daily Telegraph).

"Lands of Lost Borders carried me up into a state of openness and excitement I haven’t felt for years. It’s a modern classic."—Pico Iyer

"Lands of Lost Borders is illuminating, heart-warming, and hopeful in its suggestion that we will explore not to conquer but to connect."—Booklist (starred review)

A brilliant, fierce writer, and winner of the 2019 RBC Taylor Prize, makes her debut with this enthralling travelogue and memoir of her journey by bicycle along the Silk Road—an illuminating and thought-provoking fusion of The Places in Between, Lab Girl, and Wild that dares us to challenge the limits we place on ourselves and the natural world.

As a teenager, Kate Harris realized that the career she craved—to be an explorer, equal parts swashbuckler and metaphysician—had gone extinct. From what she could tell of the world from small-town Ontario, the likes of Marco Polo and Magellan had mapped the whole earth; there was nothing left to be discovered. Looking beyond this planet, she decided to become a scientist and go to Mars.

In between studying at Oxford and MIT, Harris set off by bicycle down the fabled Silk Road with her childhood friend Mel. Pedaling mile upon mile in some of the remotest places on earth, she realized that an explorer, in any day and age, is the kind of person who refuses to live between the lines. Forget charting maps, naming peaks: what she yearned for was the feeling of soaring completely out of bounds. The farther she traveled, the closer she came to a world as wild as she felt within.

Lands of Lost Borders, winner of the 2018 Banff Adventure Travel Award and a 2018 Nautilus Award, is the chronicle of Harris’s odyssey and an exploration of the importance of breaking the boundaries we set ourselves; an examination of the stories borders tell, and the restrictions they place on nature and humanity; and a meditation on the existential need to explore—the essential longing to discover what in the universe we are doing here.

Like Rebecca Solnit and Pico Iyer, Kate Harris offers a travel account at once exuberant and reflective, wry and rapturous. Lands of Lost Borders explores the nature of limits and the wildness of the self that can never fully be mapped. Weaving adventure and philosophy with the history of science and exploration, Lands of Lost Borders celebrates our connection as humans to the natural world, and ultimately to each other—a belonging that transcends any fences or stories that may divide us.

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