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Called Back: My Reply to Cancer, My Return to Life
“Mary Cappello's Called Back shimmers on the page. Ezra Pound said a writer has to ‘make it new’ and Cappello has done that rare feat. Cancer books have become a genre that nobody wants to read, except this book. Read this book. Called Back is exquisite.”—Patty Dann author of Mermaids, and of The Goldfish Went on Vacation: A Memoir of Loss (and Learning to Tell the Truth ...more
Paperback, 220 pages
Published October 1st 2009 by Alyson Books
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Not an easy book to read, this one, but when is anything about cancer delightful. I flinched a lot at the first. On the other hand, reading it with a very close friend, a cancer survivor herself, gave me purpose. And quite before I realized it this woman's love of written words, most particularly the ones with which she described the unexpected challenge of breast cancer in her life, had captured my attention and I could not put the book down. There's honesty here--and an artist's exquisite desc ...more
A lovely book, moving and clever, both intellectually and emotionally challenging and satisfying. Though sometimes its ruminations wandered into obscurity, and perhaps 1/4 of them might have been cut, the essential project of it, to look closely at her hard experience, to listen, touch, smell it, to investigate it in words and pictures, and to return to and question the very roots of our language, was both seductive and admirable. I came to feel a kind of love for the writer, who seemed so compa ...more
I attended a reading given by the author in Philadelphia. I had no idea what a "cancer" memoir would be like. To my surprise and delight, the reading was upbeat, irreverent and even humorous at times. I was very moved by Cappello's honesty and introspection. Now, having read the book, I am so impressed by the entire package. It will make you laugh, cringe, wince, and cry. Cappello is a writer of the first rank. Excellent!
My wonderful spouse got this book for me. And for a long time it sat unread. I wasn't ready to read a cancer memoir. It was too close to the bone. But I read this last month, and I am so grateful I did. Cappello has a unique writing style that I truly connected with, and a sense of humor and sarcasm that clicked with me. The writing is rich and layered, as is dealing with cancer, and it really resonated with me.
I couldn't expect anything less than breathtaking from my former professor and friend Mary Cappello. This book brought me to tears but also poked humorously at the finality of human existence. Her descriptions are always my favorite the way she weaves fluently from one antidote to another evoking real emotion in the readers through her unique experiences.
Mary Cappello is a writer and professor of English and Creative Writing at the University of Rhode Island. She is the author of four books of literary nonfiction, and her essays and experimental prose have been published in The Georgia Review, Salmagundi and Cabinet Magazine. Her work has been featured in The New York Times, Salon, The Huffington Post, in guest author blogs for Powell's Books, and ...moreMore about Mary Cappello...