“Fair to say, I was in a ribald state the summer before my fiftieth birthday.” And so begins Alexandra Fuller’s open, vivid new memoir, Fi. It’s midsummer in Wyoming and Alexandra is barely hanging on. Grieving her father and pining for her home country of Zimbabwe, reeling from a midlife breakup, freshly sober and piecing her way uncertainly through a volatile new relationship with a younger woman, Alexandra vows to get herself back on even keel.
And then – suddenly and incomprehensibly – her son Fi, at 21 years old, dies in his sleep.
No stranger to loss – young siblings, a parent, a home country – Alexandra is nonetheless leveled. At the same time, she is painfully aware that she cannot succumb and abandon her two surviving daughters as her mother before her had done. From a sheep wagon deep in the mountains of Wyoming to a grief sanctuary in New Mexico to a silent meditation retreat in Alberta, Canada, Alexandra journeys up and down the spine of the Rocky Mountains in an attempt to find how to grieve herself whole. There is no answer, and there are countless answers – in poetry, in rituals and routines, in nature and in the indigenous wisdom she absorbed as a child in Zimbabwe. By turns disarming, devastating and unexpectedly, blessedly funny, Alexandra recounts the wild medicine of painstakingly grieving a child in a culture that has no instructions for it.
Praise for Fi:
“In the wake of immense loss, what remains? With clear, luminous prose and courageous insight, Fuller investigates . . . The writing is so stunning, immediate, and heartfelt that the book is often as difficult to read as it is to put down. A true marvel of a memoir, simultaneously beautiful and devastating.”—Kirkus Reviews, starred review
“Fuller’s prose is raw, primal, and electric, pulling the reader into both her shock and her attempts to carry on with a heart cleaved in two. Readers who are experiencing their own grief will find solace here, while those who’ve been following Fuller for years through her beautifully written memoirs will want to be with her as she recounts this tragedy.”—Booklist
“A truly extraordinary memoir about a mother’s loss of her son: beautiful, fearless, raw and an utterly compelling read.”—Helen Macdonald, author of H Is For Hawk
Praise for Alexandra Fuller:
“Whew boy, can Alexandra Fuller write.”—New York Times
“Fuller is a magnificent, insightful writer.”—Washington Post
“Owning a great story doesn’t guarantee being able to tell it well. That’s the individual mystery of talent, a gift with which Alexandra Fuller is richly blessed.”—Entertainment Weekly
“Alexandra Fuller has always been a brave writer. We count on her bare-boned, carefully-crafted truths laced with wit and wisdom.”—Terry Tempest Williams