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Foregone Conclusions Cover

Year of Reversible Loss

by Norma Farber

with El León Literary Arts

Price $20.00 plus tax and shipping


May, 2012

Critical Praise

Norma Farber's journal of the year after the death of her life's companion is in prose and verse. This formal doubleness turns out to be perfect for writing that is attentive as it is candid, cool as it is heartfelt, elegant as it is passionate.

—Robert Pinsky, Selected Poems

The music of Norma Farber’s Year of Reversible Loss is visceral, Orpheus singing the music of grief. “Let the meniscus moon hone its dagger against the sharpening dark.” Mixing brilliant essay with exquisite verse situated between haiku and pensee, Farber ignores no detail of the natural world that might ignite powerful insight. “My need is small/as the dusk under a lilac bush.“ Where Anne Morrow Lindberg and Joan Didion try for this lucidity, Farber succeeds again and again.

—Terese Svoboda, Bohemian Girl

In this rhapsodic meditation on the inevitability of the loss of the beloved, Norma Farber navigates toward the dignity that, with wisdom, she salvages with patient memory, nuanced language, and a forbearing heart. We almost feel we are witnessing her mind and hand at work as she composes herself and her book in prose and poems that combine the compassion and metaphorical flashes of Basho and Issa with the tender astringency of Dickinson. Farber grieves by testing the need both to be silent and to speak of the unspeakable. She tells herself, and us, that life, indifferent, not only continues without the beloved, it blossoms. A stoic sort of rapture is possible; longing and fulfillment embrace, in love with one another, in this rare, unforgettable book.

—Frank Stewart, Editor, Manoa: A Pacific Journal of International Writing

We know Norma Farber as a strikingly original poet and musician, and Sidney Farber as a larger-than-life scientific and medical visionary. But they were also husband-and-wife for more than four decades. More than a marriage of art and science, theirs was a marriage of two unorthodox and complex minds. Written after Sidney Farber's death, this enthralling book is thus a journal of a partially amputated soul, with the rawness and urgency that only such amputations can bring, one of the most stirring chronicles of loss that I have encountered.

—Siddhartha Mukherjee, The Emperor of All Maladies