Companion to an Untold Story by Marcia AldrichCompanion to an Untold Story by Marcia Aldrich

Companion to an Untold Story

byMarcia AldrichEditorSupriya Bhatnagar

Paperback | March 15, 2016

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When Marcia Aldrich's friend took his own life at the age of forty-six, they had known each other many years. As part of his preparations for death, he gave her many of his possessions, concealing his purposes in doing so, and when he committed his long-contemplated act, he was alone in a bare apartment.

In Companion to an Untold Story, Aldrich struggles with her own failure to act on her suspicions about her friend's intentions. She pieces together the rough outline of his plan to die and the details of its execution. Yet she acknowledges that she cannot provide a complete narrative of why he killed himself. The story remains private to her friend, and out of that difficulty is born another story- the aftershocks of his suicide and the author's responses to what it set in motion.

This book, modeled on the type of reference book called a "companion," attempts to find a form adequate to the way these two stories criss-cross, tangle, knot, and break. Organized alphabetically, the entries introduce, document, and reflect upon how suicide is so resistant to acceptance that it swallows up other aspects of a person's life. Aldrich finds an indirect approach to her friend's death, assembling letters, objects, and memories to archive an ungrievable loss and create a memorial to a life that does not easily make a claim on public attention. Intimate and austere, clear eyed and tender, this innovative work creates a new form in which to experience grief, remembrance, and reconciliation.

Marcia Aldrich is a professor of English at Michigan State University and the former editor of the journal Fourth Genre: Explorations in Nonfiction. She is the author of the memoir Girl Rearing: A Memoir of a Girlhood Gone Astray. Her nonfiction essays have been published in a wide variety of literary reviews and anthologies, including...
Title:Companion to an Untold StoryFormat:PaperbackDimensions:280 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.68 inPublished:March 15, 2016Publisher:University Of Georgia PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0820349801

ISBN - 13:9780820349800


Editorial Reviews

The overall effect of [Companion to an Untold Story] is haunting, and the list of images and entries creates a sense that, like most lasting grief, this story will never end for the narrator. Strange and highly personal details . . . give the reader the feeling of standing with the narrator at the edge of Joel's death and, like the narrator, trying to put the pieces together.

- Sonya Huber - Fourth Genre