The Woman in My Life




Mother of SorrowsMother of Sorrows
by Richard McCann
Pantheon. 192 pages, $20.


“CREATIVE NON-POETRY” is how Richard McCann half-jokingly described his unassumingly moving new book, Mother of Sorrows, at a reading. In a fusion of poetic memoir and fictional prose, McCann gently skews the facts both to guard his own past and to acquire artistic liberties. Throughout these ten overlapping vignettes, fiction becomes reality’s shadow-twin, and vice versa. McCann knows how and when to suspend the key mysteries, leaving things unsaid. His previous book, 1994’s award-winning Ghost Letters, collected his Rilkean meditations and poems on the ravages of the AIDS epidemic. Here, McCann employs similar tactics with a different thematic scope, namely the construction and disintegration of an American family.

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