The Guardians

The Guardians : An Elegy

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Description

"The Guardians" opens with a story from the July 24, 2008, edition of the "Riverdale Press" that begins, "An unidentified white man was struck and instantly killed by a Metro-North train last night as it pulled into the station on West 254th Street." Sarah Manguso writes: "The train's engineer told the police that the man was alone and that he jumped. The police officers pulled the body from the track and found no identification. The train's 425 passengers were transferred to another train and delayed about twenty minutes.""The Guardians" is an elegy for Manguso's friend Harris, two years after he escaped from a psychiatric hospital and jumped under that train. The narrative contemplates with unrelenting clarity their crowded postcollege apartment, Manguso's fellowship year in Rome, Harris's death and the year that followed--the year of mourning and the year of Manguso's marriage. As Harris is revealed both to the reader and to the narrator, the book becomes a monument to their intimacy and inability to express their love to each other properly, and to the reverberating effects of Harris's presence in and absence from Manguso's life. There is grief in the book but also humor, as Manguso marvels at the unexpected details that constitute a friendship. "The Guardians" explores the insufficiency of explanation and the necessity of the imagination in making sense of anything.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 111 pages
  • 144.78 x 213.36 x 17.78mm | 249.47g
  • Farrar Straus Giroux
  • New York, NY, United States
  • English
  • 0374167249
  • 9780374167240
  • 907,310

About Sarah Manguso

Sarah Manguso is the author of a memoir, "The Two Kinds of Decay"; two books of poetry, "Siste Viator" and "The Captain Lands in Paradise"; and a short-story collection, "Hard to Admit and Harder to Escape."show more

Review quote

"'Nobody understands how I feel, ' we often think (mistakenly) in times of loss. But Manguso not only understands, she can articulate it in the precisest and most unexpected of images--an unrelated car accident, a bowl of Italian candies, a swim in the ocean. What results is a memoir that reveals not the just intimacies of the writer's life, but of your own. Most moving is that "The Guardians" covers a subject so rarely recognized in our society, the grief from the death of a friend." --Leigh Newman, Oprah.com, "Book of the Week""Sarah Manguso's "The Guardians" goes to hell and back . . . The book majors in bone-on-bone rawness, exposed nerve endings . . . With" The Guardians," I did something I do when I love a book: start covering my mouth when I read; this is very pure and elemental, and I wanted nothing coming between me and the page." --David Shields, "Los Angeles Review of Books" "A bittersweet elegy to a friend who 'eloped' from a locked psychiatric ward . . . [Manguso] explores the extent to which we are our friends' guardians and, in outliving them, the guardians of their memory . . . Manguso's writing manages, in carefully honed bursts of pointed, poetic observation, to transcend the darkness and turn it into something beautiful. The results are also deeply instructive, not in the manner we've come to fatuously call "self-help" but in the way that good literature expands and illuminates our realm of experience." --Heller McAlpin, "Barnes and Noble Review""Shortly after returning home from a fellowship year in Rome, poet and memoirist Sarah Manguso received word that her old college friend Harris had fled a psychiatric hospital and jumped in front of a train. In "The Guardians: An Elegy," the writer explores, in prose that singes with precision and honesty, the many ambiguities surrounding the tragedy . . . A long friendship is a crucial orientation point, and Manguso captures with great delicacy the spinning compass of her grief, and its accoshow more
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