Coleridge said, “I wish our clever young poets would remember my homely definitions of prose and poetry; that is prose; words in their best order;-poetry; the best words in the best order.”
Quaint punctuation aside, this sentiment applies to Weir’s work. It may be prose, but she chooses the best words and puts them in the best order. I forget I’m reading when I read her books. I get lost in the story, and that’s true of her memoirs as well as her fiction.
The Man Who Left is a memoir about Alzheimer’s, but don’t look here for pity or schmaltzy sentiment for Weir’s father, the man with the disease. Weir explores the excruciating tension between obligation to an ill parent and justifiable rage and resentment over his abandonment of his children when the obligation was on his side.
As with her companion book, The Orchard, Weir’s memoir of her marriage, The Man Who Left reads like a novel. In both, her stark truth-telling is raw, real, and liberating.
[Full disclosure: Theresa Weir edited Space Junque, for which I will be forever grateful. She can edit, too.]