Beyond the High Blue Air: A Memoir


Product Details

Publish Date
5.5 X 8.2 X 0.8 inches | 0.8 pounds

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About the Author

Lu Spinney was born and raised in South Africa. After university, she moved to Nice and Paris, before settling in London. Beyond the High Blue Air is her first book.


"Like The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion, Beyond the High Blue Air is a spare, sharp memoir about the speed with which a comfortable existence can be blighted by grief." --Bee Wilson, The Sunday Times

Through her close observations and beautiful words, Spinney makes the reader understand vividly what life was like, for Miles and for her. Beyond the High Blue Air is wholly a mother's story, written with passion, anger, grief and great love. --Laurie Hertzel, The Star Tribune

A painful account made beautiful by Spinney's poignant details and tender insight. --Booklist

"Lu Spinney has a tragic story to tell. The circumstances are unique. But what she expresses--disbelief, hope, anger, dismay--is universal. And the ethical questions she raises are vitally important. Most important, she writes beautifully."--Blake Morrison, author of And When Did You Last See Your Father?

"This book is a work of the highest literary skill and heroic courage born out of what for most would be unendurable, and wholly silencing, maternal pain. To read it is to feel, sympathetically, both that pain and admiration for the woman who has written so eloquently through it."--John Sutherland, author of The Boy Who Loved Books

"Spinney describes her son's harrowing final years from a uniquely maternal perspective, weighing the appalling ambiguities of his situation with a sensitivity and respect for both the person he was and the person he has become."--Wendy Moore, The Literary Review

"Impossible to read this eloquent, heart-breakingly well-written record of a mother's loss without realizing that the people you love are all also standing on the precipice edge Lu Spinney describes so well." --Francis Spufford, author of Golden Hill

Beyond the High Blue Air explores the limits of medical science and searches for the unlimited potential of human compassion. --Forward Reviews (starred review)

"Lu Spinney's beautifully written memoir is a powerful testament of personal grief and a ferocious critique of the way our society deals with suffering and death."--Jane Shilling, Daily Mail (London)

"Spinney's eye is unflinching and she spares us nothing."--Cathy Rentzenbrink, The Times (London)

"A memoir written about a son's tragic accident and subsequent death is not destined to be an easy read. It's not easy because readers will be able to identify with the author's journey as her son is first in a coma, then in a fluid state of consciousness, until eventually death. A compassionate, raw and intimate journey that no one ever chooses to embark on, but one in which the landmarks must be discussed."--Marika Zemke, Librarian, Commerce Township Public Library

"Every mother's nightmare--Lu receives a call that her 29 year old son has been seriously injured in a snowboarding accident. She is in England, and she and the rest of the family hurry to the hospital in Innsbruck where doctors are trying to save his life. Is it possible that the adventurous young man with the Oxford degree will come back to them? Is this what Miles would have wanted? How many actually have an advance directive to make things easier if the unthinkable happens? Intense and at times painful to read, this memoir is reminiscent of Joan Didion's The Year of Magical Thinking."--Linda Tilden, Librarian, Mt Laurel Public Library