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I Had a Brother Once

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I Had a Brother Once by Adam Mansbach
Hardcover $26.00
Apr 13, 2021 | ISBN 9780593134795

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“You’ve never read a book like this one, with such heart and such grace. Adam Mansbach unpacks a kind of loss most of us will never experience, and builds something at once majestic and intimate: a tribute, a totem, a life.”—Daniel Alarcón, author of The King Is Always Above the People

“Poetry has always been the perfect vehicle for the unwieldy, intractable narrative—the pulsing injustice that refuses to dim, the love that swells unchecked, the numbing tragedy that bleeds past its borders. In I Had a Brother Once—Adam Mansbach’s penetrative chronicle of his younger brother’s suicide—there is an almost unbearable tension between an unrelenting poetic structure that just barely the contains the unthinkable and the exhaustive emotional range of the poem itself. I remember Adam around the time of his brother’s death—if there’s a top of the world, he was on top of that—and it’s sobering to now realize the grief he was shouldering, how vehemently that perfect world had shifted. I Had a Brother Once humbly touts itself as ‘A Poem,’ but it is so, so much more than that. It is a love story, an unbridled wail, an effectual and resounding clash of heartache and art.”—Patricia Smith, author of the Pulitzer Prize finalist Incendiary Art

“This is a devastating, brilliant book. Somehow, in its completely authentic pain, it manages also to be full of life, at times even sweetly funny, maybe because we see struggles we recognize: of distance, of authenticity, of parenting, of performance, of love. This book feels deeply necessary, not just for the writer, but for all of us.”—Matthew Zapruder, author of Why Poetry and Father’s Day

I Had a Brother Once is a brave, heartrending, and compelling book. It is consoling with no false notes, rich in both texture and feeling. Adam Mansbach has written a remarkable memoir.”—Rabih Alameddine, artist and author of An Unnecessary Woman and The Angel of History

“A piercing poetic meditation on death, grief, and family . . . A wounded though loving paean that will speak to anyone who has lost a sibling, no matter the cause of death.”Kirkus Reviews

“In this heartbreaking, brutally candid memoir, Mansbach employs long stanzas of free verse to recount events surrounding his brother’s death, struggling through anger, sorrow, and confusion. Poetic conventions allow him to retreat into form, to distill the endless refrains of condolence in a way that re-creates the time grief occupies in tragedy’s immediate aftermath. . . . For an author who has written everything from screenplays to middle-grade novels to wildly popular picture books, this courageous and devastating memoir in verse stands out.”Booklist (starred review)

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