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Half a Life by Darin Strauss.. A powerful memoir of novelist Strauss’ sudden and irrevocable collision with a young bicyclist. Her death –– unavoidable –– becomes his moral responsibility. Here he deals honestly and unsentimentally with the consequences.

Joel Gardner, LitSnap Editor

"Although the accident was what insurers call a “no fault fatality,” the moment Strauss’ car struck and killed his classmate Celine, a girl he hardly knew, his life was understandably changed forever. Prompted to tell his story (he first told portions on This American Life) by new fatherhood and the realization that the earth-crumbling event had occurred half his lifetime ago, Strauss takes advantage of the perhaps unfortunate ability the accident gave him to introspect and proceeds to do so for 200 pages of conversational free-form essay. Remaining well on this side of overly sentimental, Strauss deconstructs the past 18 years and views them from every vantage point; he sees his embarrassingly self-centered thoughts immediately afterward and the premature graying of his hair and stress-related stomach problems of his late twenties. “Name an experience. It’s a good bet I’ve thought of Celine while experiencing it.."


"A remarkable, beyond-brave memoir that offers an intensely personal look at the most agonizing events in the author's post-accident life… With astounding frequency, Strauss pinpoints truths that most of us would find indescribable.."

The Oprah Magazine

Author bio: Darin is the international bestselling author of the New York Times Notable books Chang and Eng and The Real McCoy, and the national bestseller More Than It Hurts You, out in paperback June 30, 2009. Also a screenwriter, he is adapting Chang and Eng with Gary Oldman, for Disney. The recipient of a 2006 Guggenheim Fellowship in fiction writing, he is a Clinical Associate Professor at NYU's creative writing program. More information can be found here:

Book Details: General Nonfiction; 205 pp. Swift, insightful: Print only

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