cover image The Double Legacy: Reflections on a Pair of Deaths

The Double Legacy: Reflections on a Pair of Deaths

Rachel Hadas / Author Faber & Faber $19.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-571

Hadas, a poet (Living in Time) and professor of English at Rutgers University, has collected here a number of prose pieces (some previously published) written both before and after 1992, the year her mother died of cancer and Charles Barber, a close friend, died of AIDS. The selections written before those tragic events deal with a variety of subjects, including the search for a school in Manhattan for her son and a meeting with her mother that Hadas now views as an omen. In the later pieces, Hadas ruminates on her relationship with the two deceased, the continuing impact of her loss and the different forms mourning can take. She intersperses her recollections with references from literature to illuminate her thoughts, but the large amount of quoted material sometimes overwhelms her own reflections. Hadas also delivers a somewhat churlish critique of the language in the bereavement notes she received after her mother's death. (Jan.)