“Nuanced, finely observed and full of truly rendered emotion.”—Robert Olen Butler
“A natural anthropologist, our protagonist’s internal monologue is at turns damning, compassionate, drunken, and darkly witty as he surveys his surroundings. ‘It’s too bad you can’t talk to the dead,’ he thinks at his high-school reunion. ‘They would probably be less repetitive than the living.’ You’ll want to hug this man. Or slap him. Either way, by the last page of A Meaning for Wife, you’ll be rooting for him.”—Sandra Beasley, author of Don’t Kill the Birthday Girl
“Inventive and moving, the novel offers one of the most unanticipated and effective narrative shifts in this reader’s memory; a beautiful unfurling of perspective that perfectly crystallizes all the pain and loss brooding at the edges of these otherwise gentle—and often very funny—pages.”–Tony D’Souza, author of Mule, The Konkans, and Whiteman
“A Meaning for Wife is a meditation not so much on grief as on what lies just beyond it — and how we get there, if at all. The rewards of this book are in its epiphanies: not just the ultimate ones, but the thousand small and sparkling realizations along the way.”– Rebecca Makkai, author of The Borrower
“Wickedly funny and surprisingly warm, A Meaning for Wife has the heart of an Updike novel and the attitude of a Jayne Anne Phillips short story. I very much enjoyed this book.”–Amanda Eyre Ward, author of Close Your Eyes
Your wife is killed by a cashew (anaphylactic shock), but there isn’t time to grieve because your toddler son is always at your heels—wanting to be fed, to be played with, or to sleep next to you all night long. A change of pace seems necessary, so you decide to visit your parents in order to attend your twenty-year high school reunion. What begins as a weekend getaway quickly becomes a theater for dealing with the past—a past that you will have to re-imagine in order to have any hope of a future for you and your son.
Told in second person, A Meaning for Wife is the story of a man trying to come to terms with the sudden death of his wife, the aging parents he has long avoided, and the tribulations of single parenthood.
Mark Yakich is the author of two poetry collections, Unrelated Individuals Forming A Group Waiting to Cross (Penguin Books, 2004) and The Importance of Peeling Potatoes in Ukraine (Penguin Books, 2008). He lives in New Orleans, Louisiana, where he teaches English at Loyola University.
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