The Guardians: An Elegy
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 pu
Manguso met Harris in college and was good enough f...more
This brief book is Manguso's attempt to make sense of the death of her close friend Harris. When she had been out of the country and hadn't seen him for a year, he escaped from a psychiatric hospital and threw himself in front of a train. But the Harris she knew had not been troubled...more
Two sensations dominate this prose elegy: grief, obviously, and much less obviously, akathisia, a dauntingly abstract state of "torment, restlessness, pulling or drawing or twisting sensation." Akathisia is a known side effect of a range of anti-psychotic drugs, such as the one the narrator's dead friend was given the same day he jumped in front of a moving train. The narrator believes that it was akathisia t...more
it's about the death of Harris, a friend of the author, and even though it's a slight book, it also covers depression, intimacy, suicide, belonging, writing and 9/11.
it's a sad book about losing a friend 'It doesn't sound like much when I say my friend died. He wasn't my father or my son or my husband.'
I like how Manguso writes about grief:
'I can't measure my grief and I can't show anyone what color it is. I can offer testimony that others can reject or...more
One of the most difficult things to write about is the death of a loved one and how it completely changes you, or at least most parts of you. Death, being the common factor to our lives, since we have all lost someone special and dear to it, is almost something that doesn’t let go. The loss is felt at various times and places and to document that to me is a work of remarkable restraint and courage. “The Guardians” by Sarah Manguso is one such book. After reading, “The Year of Magical Thinking” b...more
The subject is the suicide of one of the author's closest friends... but as with almost all books I love, it's about much more: the meaning of family and relationship and marriage and friendship, and how slippery and undefinable, finally, those things are; grief and mourning and how undefinable they are, as well; how we try to understand our lives, and how impossible it is to do that, and the necessity of continuing to try.
The Guardians is...more
This reads like a prayer. There is something almost ritualistic about the cycling ruminations on her friend, Harris' suicide, on mental illness (his and her own), and grief. The writing is beautiful, a poet's.
Her poems and prose have appeared in The...more