The Guardians

Sarah Manguso, Author
Sarah Manguso. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $23 (160p) ISBN 978-0-374-16724-0
Reviewed on: 01/16/2012
Release date: 02/28/2012
Paperback - 111 pages - 978-1-84708-311-1
Paperback - 111 pages - 978-1-250-02415-2
Paperback - 128 pages - 978-1-84708-310-4
Open Ebook - 128 pages - 978-1-4299-5022-0
Ebook - 978-1-84708-557-3
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In 2008, Harris Wulfson, Manguso’s longtime friend, walked out of a mental hospital and into the path of an oncoming train. It was two days before his body was identified. In this affecting narrative, poet and writer Manguso (The Two Kinds of Decay) threads selected remembrances into an elegy—for Harris, who was a musician and composer, kind and funny and capable of behaving badly, but also an elegy for youth, that time of unstable arrangements and shifting roommates; for Manguso’s past, filled with illness and suicidal thoughts; and, perhaps most of all, for a friendship. Manguso reminds us that long friendships are a palimpsest of love and disappointment and memory; old friends are a compass for one’s life. Manguso puzzles over the thought of what becomes of a friend after death? as well as feelings of grief, guilt, and anger, and what separates the mentally ill from the rest of us (less than we think, she concludes). In the end, Manguso writes with assured and poetic prose. (Mar.)
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