"A healing balm, this inviting memoir lights a path through grief and illness." -- Kirkus Reviews, starred review
A remarkable memoir that breaks the silence about infertility--and will resonate with millions of women.
"I drive and say to myself, if I am
dying, if this is how I die, then this is how I die." When N. West Moss finds herself bleeding uncontrollably in the middle of a writing class, she drives herself to the hospital. Doctors are baffled, but eventually a diagnosis--hemangioma--is determined and a hysterectomy is scheduled. We follow Moss through her surgery, complications, and recovery as her thoughts turn to her previous struggles with infertility, to grief and healing, to what it means to leave a legacy.
Moss's wise, droll voice and limitless curiosity lift this beautiful memoir beyond any narrow focus. Among her interests: yellow fever, good cocktails, the history of New Orleans, and, always, the natural world, including the praying mantis in her sunroom whom she names Claude. And we learn about the inspiring women in Moss's family--her mother, her grandmother, and her great-grandmother--as she sorts out her feeling that this line will end with her. But Moss discovers that there are other ways besides having children to make a mark, and that grief is not a stopping place but a companion that travels along with us through everything, even happiness.
With public figures like Chrissy Teigen and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, speaking out about infertility recently, women are eager for voices that acknowledge their struggles. Fans of Lena Dunham, Leslie Jamison, and Jenny Lawson--along with readers of medical memoirs like When Breath Becomes Air
and The Bright Hour
--will find that connection in Moss's Flesh & Blood
About the Author
N. West Moss is the author of the short story collection The Subway Stops at Bryant Park, which Kirkus called "gorgeously nuanced." Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Salon, McSweeney's, Ars Medica, and more. She is the recipient of three Faulkner-Wisdom gold medals and winner of The Saturday Evening Post's Great American Fiction Contest. A MacDowell fellow, as well as a fellow at the Virginia Center for Creative Arts (VCCA) and Cill Rialaig in Ireland, she has been a visiting scholar at the University of Virginia School of Medicine. Moss holds an MFA in Creative Writing and a CPA in Narrative Medicine from Columbia University. She is an Academic Programs Specialist at one of the New Jersey State universities, where she also teaches medical humanities and creative process classes.