320 pages, 9.25 × 6.25 × 1 in
February 1, 2006
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
The following ISBNs are associated with this title:
ISBN - 10: 0618472177
ISBN - 13: 9780618472178
About the Book
Grounded in the everyday particulars of life in a small town, leavened by earthy humor, this book presents the saga of a family coming to terms with death--a tale of love and loss, grief and redemption set in rural Minnesota.
Read from the Book
She ached. As if her spine were a zipper and someone had come up behind her and unzipped it and pushed his hands into her organs and squeezed, as if they were butter or dough, or grapes to be smashed for wine. At other times it was something sharp like diamonds or shards of glass engraving her bones. Teresa explained these sensations to the doctor -the zipper, the grapes, the diamonds, and the glass-while he sat on his little stool with wheels and wrote in a notebook. He continued to write after shed stopped speaking, his head cocked and still like a dog listening to a sound that was distinct, but far off. It was late afternoon, the end of a long day of tests, and he was the final doctor, the real doctor, the one who would tell her at last what was wrong.
Teresa held her earrings in the palm of one hand-dried violets pressed between tiny panes of glass-and put them on, still getting dressed after hours of going from one room to the next in a hospital gown. She examined her shirt for lint and cat hair, errant pieces of thread, and primly picked them off. She looked at Bruce, who looked out the window at a ship in the harbor, which cut elegantly, tranquilly along the surface of the lake, as if it werent January, as if it werent Minnesota, as if it werent ice.
At the moment she wasnt in pain and she told the doctor this while he wrote. "There are long stretches of time that I feel perfectly fine," she said, and laughed the way she did with strangers. She confesse
From the Publisher
"Be incredible!" That's the advice Teresa Rae Wood gives the listeners of her popular local radio show, Modern Pioneers!, a kind of hippie Praire Home Companion. Teresa has taken the advice to heart in her own life. As a teen mother and abused wife, she escaped with her two children to rural Minnesota, fell in love with a local carpenter, and raised good kids, Claire and Joshua. Then, at only 38, she receives the devastating news that she is gravely ill. In just a few weeks, she is gone.
The award-winning writer Cheryl Strayed creates from this shattering experience a novel that reviewers have called "an unforgettable read" and "a hauntingly beautiful story" that "shimmers with a humane grace." *
Infused with compassion and surprising humor, Torch takes a refreshingly unsentimental view of a family reeling from crisis. Claire drops out of college to devote herself to keeping her mother's memory alive back home. Joshua drifts out of high school and into trouble, keeping his grief silently private. Suddenly thrown into adulthood, they struggle to figure out how to connect in this new, unthinkable situation. Their one remaining ballast is Teresa's gentle common-law husband, Bruce. When Bruce announces news of his own plans, it comes as a shock not only to Claire and Joshua but also to the townspeople who have watched this unusual family grow and have come to love them.
Cheryl Strayed has a deep appreciation for the shifting rhythms between siblings and parents and for the beautiful terrors of learning how to keep living. The wonderful characters in Torch come alive and stay with you long after the novel ends.
*Library Journal; Kirkus Reviews; Publishers Weekly
Cheryl Strayed's award-winning stories and essays have appeared in more than a dozen magazines, including the New York Times Magazine, Allure, Self, The Sun, and Nerve. Widely anthologized, her work is featured in The Best New American Voices 2003 and has been selected twice for The Best American Essays. Raised in Minnesota, Strayed has worked as a political organizer for women's advocacy groups and was an outreach worker at a sexual violence center in Minneapolis. She holds an M.F.A. from the Syracuse University Graduate Creative Writing Program. She now lives in Portland, Oregon, with her husband and two children.
About the Author
Cheryl Strayed is the author of #1 New York Times
, the New York Times
bestseller Tiny Beautiful Things
, and the novel Torch
was chosen by Oprah Winfrey as her first selection for Oprah's Book Club 2.0 and optioned for film by Reese Witherspoon's production company, Pacific Standard. Wild
was selected as the winner of the Barnes & Noble Discover Award and also received an Indie Choice Award, an Oregon Book Award, a Pacific Northwest Booksellers Award, and a Midwest Booksellers Choice Award. Strayed's writing has appeared in The Best American Essays
, the New York Times Magazine
, the Washington Post Magazine
, The Missouri Review
, The Sun
, The Rumpus
--where she has written the popular "Dear Sugar" column since 2010--and elsewhere. Her books have been translated into twenty-eight languages around the world. She holds an MFA in fiction writing from Syracuse University and a bachelor's degree from the University of Minnesota. She lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband and their two children.
"I loved the honesty of this novel, the way it looked at every aspect of loss and recovery -- the pain, the joy, the absurdity, the anger, the despair, the hope and the great beauty -- without every holding back." --Elizabeth Berg"A deeply honest novel of life after catastrophe, of intimacy lost and found." O, The Oprah Magazine"Beautifully written and authentic in its portrayal of the unexpected fallout a family death can engender." People Magazine"In language that's lyrical and haunting, Cheryl Strayed writes about bliss and loss, about the kind of grace that startles and transforms us in ordinary moments." --Ursula Hegi, author of Stones from the River"Lovely." Entertainment Weekly"A literary balm for those who know what it means to lose a parent." The Oregonian"Shows how death can untie, and hopefully, in time, affirm, familiar bonds." The San Francisco Chronicle"Cheryl Strayed proves a master of the little and the big, the telling details that cement the book's larger themes in mind and memory . . . an irresistibly engaging debut read." Minneapolis Star-Tribune"[Strayed] goes fearlessly into this place of raw grief and inappropriate lust and desperate love . . . [her characters] live dense, perplexing, fascinating, and authentic lives." --Book World The Washington Post"Torch is a steady stream of finely wrought portrayals of nuance, moments, and emotions." Newsday"A hauntingly beautiful story written with tenderness and endowed with true insights into the frailty of