by Anne Roiphe

Harpercollins, 2008. ISBN 978-0-061-25462-8.
Reviewed by Judith Helburn
Posted on 03/23/2009

Nonfiction: Memoir; Nonfiction: Life Lessons

Anne Roiphe has written a love song for her late husband. Roiphe, author of fifteen previous books and numerous articles, wrote Epilogue as part of her healing process after the sudden loss of her husband. It is written in stream-of-consciousness or journaling style, elegant and lyrical.

She writes of following the formula for the process of healing: visiting with friends; going to the theater and concerts and spending time with her family. But all the while she was wishing to stay at home in misery and sadness, staring out the window or curled up in her bed. She writes of not being able to concentrate, read, or even write. "Is this the thing about being alone that I must get used to—I am not here if no one sees or hears me. Like the proverbial tree in the forest I neither fall nor stand unobserved. But I am observing myself and that should be enough. It isn't."

Roiphe writes of performing tasks that her spouse had always taken care of and reminiscing about what he would have done and what he would have said if he had been present. "Touch. I took it for granted. H. took my arm when we were walking in the street. He took my hand in the movies. He lay his head in my lap...He...." He is present in all of the pages. Humor slyly enters the pages when she writes of her half-hearted attempts to return to the dating game.

Slowly, through the year after the death of her husband, H, she regains her equilibrium and begins to cherish life again. Roiphe's is a book for me to keep. Some day, unfortunately, I will either need to re-read it, or pass it on to a friend who is in need. Here is not only a memoir, but a tool written with beauty, great sadness and regeneration.

Anne Roiphe is the author of 15 books including a finalist for the 1996 National Book Award. She has also written numerous articles and is a contributing editor to the Jerusalem Report. She lives in NYC.

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