Stations of the Heart: Parting with a Son

Richard Lischer. Knopf, $25 (272p) ISBN 978-0-307-96053-5
On April 13, 2005, Lischer, who teaches at Duke Divinity School, received a call from his son, Adam, that no parent ever wants to receive. Adam, a gifted and loving young lawyer whose wife, Jenny, was expecting her child three months later, tells his father that the cancer they all thought was gone has now returned and that it now lives in many of his body's organs. Initially, Lischer is speechless, but his stunned silence soon turns to rage as he wails that his son's death is a robbery. In this tender, searching resigned memoir and tribute to Adam, Lischer relives the final three-month journey that he, his wife, and Jenny traveled with Adam, recalling with grace and humor memories of Adam in his elementary school days, his college days, and his quest to change the world around as a modern-day Atticus Finch in his law career. After Adam's death, Lischer observes that "grief is a series of caves—dark, multiple, and unfathomed. You do not explore them. You fall into them....5 Your world is not as large as it used to be, for a ceiling has been imposed on happiness and the floor occasionally trembles beneath your feet." Walking this journey over again seven years later, Lischer declares that it took him from "the bitter gall of losing Adam to something like settled sorrow," and where he can now say, "He was my son. I give thanks for him." Agent: John F. Thornton, Spielar Agency. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 11/26/2012
Release date: 04/02/2013
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