Novelist/Memoirist Linda Gray Sexton (Searching for Mercy Street: My Journey Back to My Mother, Anne Sexton, Other works in Bibliography) celebrates the release of her latest memoir, Half in Love: Surviving the Legacy of Suicide, as she celebrates her triumph of life.
Linda describes the memoir in her own words:
The book is about struggling with the cycle of suicide that ran through my family and how I came to terms with it, understanding at last this mental illness and suicide did not have to be my only inheritance.
And then here a few of the glorious Reviews for HALF IN LOVE:
“A vivid and daring exploration of survival from the author of Searching for Mercy Street,” Linda Sexton’s beautiful book is a cry for health and sanity.” ⎯Erica Jong
“Like her mother, Sexton can create a startling intimacy with her readers. She comes before us emotionally naked, explaining the pull of self-cutting and suicide in a tone that’s unsettling direct…This book looks into the workings of the suicidal mind in a way that isn’t easily forgotten, raising provocative questions about how we approach and treat the severely mentally ill. Sexton paints suicide as a deadly disease mechanism: only the care of other people can save its victims, but those victims become experts at driving other people away. ‘The bare bones fact,’ Sexton writes from her own grueling experience, ‘is that no one wants to deal with a suicide.’”—The New York Times Book Review
“In this stark, affecting memoir, Sexton picks up where she left off in her 1994 tell-all Searching for Mercy Street…with a compelling candidness…in the end, we’re rewarded not by Sexton’s inevitable listing toward harm but by her resilience in the face of it.” —San Francisco Magazine
The Divining Wand has scheduled a presentation/review of Half in Love: Surviving the Legacy of Suicide for Monday, January 24, 2011 but, until then, let’s meet the author through her brief official “bio:”
Linda Gray Sexton is the daughter of Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Anne Sexton. She has written four novels, and her first memoir, Searching for Mercy Street, was published to widespread acclaim. She lives in California.
And now the opportunity to get to know Linda, upclose and personal:
How would you describe your life in 8 words?
A: Mother, Wife, Friend, Memoirist, Dalmatian Lover, Reader, Shopaholic.
What is your motto or maxim?
A: “Don’t let the bastards win.”
How would you describe perfect happiness?
A: My arms around my sons; a loving man by my side; my dog tucked in behind my knees; a book in my hands.
What’s your greatest fear?
A: Being in an airplane as it crashes.
If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you choose to be?
A: Florence, Italy
With whom in history do you most identify?
A: Virginia Woolf
Which living person do you most admire?
A: Nelson Mandela
What are your most overused words or phrases?
A: “Are you sure?” and the f-word.
If you could acquire any talent, what would it be?
A: To be a chef the caliber of Thomas Keller, Eric Ripert, or Alice Waters.
What is your greatest achievement?
A: Raising sons (26 and 28) to adulthood and teaching them to be empathetic men.
What’s your greatest flaw?
A: Oversensitivity and talking about myself too much.
What’s your best quality?
A: Sensitivity and the ability to listen.
What do you regret most?
A: Three suicide attempts.
If you could be any person or thing, who or what would it be?
A: A dog who lives at my house.
What trait is most noticeable about you?
Who is your favorite fictional hero?
A: Lily Briscoe in Virginia Woolf’s “To The Lighthouse.”
Who is your favorite fictional villain?
A: Iago in Shakespeare’s “Othello.”
If you could meet any athlete, who would it be and what would you say to him or her?
A: Martina Navratilova; “I admire everything you’ve accomplished, particularly because you were such a strong role model for women my age.”
What is your biggest pet peeve?
A: Parents who don’t control their children in restaurants and airplanes.
What is your favorite occupation, when you’re not writing?
A: Sailing and going to dog shows.
What’s your fantasy profession?
What 3 personal qualities are most important to you?
A: Empathy, courage, kindness.
If you could eat only one thing for the rest of your days, what would it be?
A: Artisan Bread with goat cheese.
What are your 5 favorite songs?
A: John Lennon’s “Imagine.”
Simon and Garfunkle’s “Bridge Over Troubled Waters”
Bob Dylan’s “ Forever Young”
The theme song from the film “Out of Africa”
Rachmaninoff’s “Variation on a Theme by Paganini”
What are your 5 favorite books of all time?
A: I change my mind about this constantly. Current favorites would be:
Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying
Virginia Woolf’s To The Lighthouse
Flaubert’s Madame Bovary
Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind
Philip Roth’s Portnoy’s Complaint
Linda Gray Sexton invites you to join her community of fans and learn more about the author’s writings and life at her official website. It’s an enchanting virtual visit to her world — a place to be explored for hours.