cover image A Heart That Works

A Heart That Works

Rob Delaney. Spiegel & Grau, $25 (196p) ISBN 978-1-954-11831-7

Delaney (Rob Delaney: Mother. Wife. Sister. Human. Warrior. Falcon. Yardstick. Turban. Cabbage.), cocreator and costar of the sitcom Catastrophe, recounts the death of his toddler son, Henry, and the aftermath in this heartrending memoir. In 2014, Delaney and his wife, Leah, moved to London for his work; two years later, Henry was born. Toward the end of his first year, Henry underwent an MRI, and a brain surgeon discovered a tumor near his brain stem. Following a successful surgery to remove the tumor, Henry lost the ability to swallow and received a tracheostomy, and health complications kept him in the hospital for 14 months. After Henry finally went home, Delaney writes, he basked in the “unalloyed beauty of his personality.” But it was a short-lived idyll: Henry’s cancer returned, and he died several months later, at home in Leah’s arms. Delaney is reflective (“It physically pained me to sign the consent forms each time he got chemo”), and his raw emotionality captures the enormity of his loss (“I was ready to love this boy forever”). Profound, crushing, and wrenching, this account of a father’s love takes the full measure of grief. Agent: Pilar Queen, UTA. (Nov.)