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'The Light of the World' by Elizabeth Alexander: EW review

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The Light of the World

Current Status:
In Season
Elizabeth Alexander
Grand Central Publishing

We gave it an A

Alexander is a poet—you may remember the piece she composed and read for President Obama’s 2009 inauguration—so it’s no surprise that this slim memoir about coming to terms with her husband Ficre’s unexpected death reads like a poem, so carefully has each word, each sentence, been chosen and polished. You feel her grief-drenched pain as she processes her loss, by both looking back at her marriage and trying to stay connected in the present: making Ficre’s pasta sauce, paying his cell-phone bill. At the end of the book, she dreams they are walking together. “At a fork in the road, Ficre lets my hand go and waves me on. You have to keep walking, Lizzy, he says.” A