Implosion: Memoir of an Architect's Daughter


Product Details

$16.95  $15.76
She Writes Press
Publish Date
5.5 X 1.0 X 8.5 inches | 1.0 pounds
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About the Author

Elizabeth W. Garber is the author of three books of poetry, True Affections: Poems from a Small Town (2012), Listening Inside the Dance (2005), and Pierced by the Seasons (2004). Three of her poems have been read on NPR by Garrison Keillor on The Writer's Almanac, and her poem "Feasting" was included in his Good Poems for Hard Times. She was awarded writing fellowships at Virginia Center for Creative Arts and Jentel Artist Residency Program in Wyoming.
Garber studied Greek Epic in the Mythology and Folklore Department at Harvard, received a BA from Johns Hopkins, a MFA in creative non-fiction from University of Southern Maine's Stonecoast Masters Program, and a master's in acupuncture from the Traditional Acupuncture Institute. She has maintained a private practice as an acupuncturist for over thirty years in mid-coast Maine, where she raised her family. Visit her at


2019 Eric Hoffer Award Finalist 2018 Next Generation Indie Book Awards Finalist in Memoirs (Other) 2018 International Book Awards Finalist in Autobiography/Memoir 2018 Kirkus Best Books "...poetic and incisive...Many readers will see aspects of their own family histories in this powerful saga of trauma and healing. An alternately wistful and searing exploration of a troubled legacy."
--Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"Garber's extraordinary debut memoir tells the story of her abusive father, architect Woodie Garber....and steadily charts his and her family's descent into chaos and madness, as Woodie's commissions dry up and he ceases to receive the recognition he believes he deserves....Recommended for survivors of abuse and those interested in knowing more about the ways in which great professional success often comes at the sacrifice of one's own family and private life."
--Library Journal

"I was riveted by this story of an adoring daughter struggling to escape the dominance of her brilliant, charismatic father. Garber writes beautifully about the layered complications of family love."
--Monica Wood, author of The One-in-a-Million Boy, When We Were the Kennedys, Any Bitter Thing, and Ernie's Ark

"In Implosion: The Architect's Daughter, Elizabeth Garber has voyaged far into the complexities of memory, navigating the treacherous currents of shame and confusion, and returned, rowing stroke by stroke, sentence by sentence, with a beautiful, clear, heartbreaking tale. Courageous, horrible, terrible, and wonderful, this is a dark and tragic beauty of a memoir that could only be written by someone determined to be fiercely honest in her remembering and her art."
--Richard Hoffman, author of Half the House and Love & Fur

"Few books have narrated the personal dimension of modernism like this one. The contradictions that bedeviled modern architecture--a passionate yet impersonal elegance--were played out in a glass house dominated by Elizabeth Garber's father, Woodie, a midwestern modern architect extraordinaire. How his daughter made her way through the tangles of his imperious faith makes for fascinating reading. What was it like to live from day to day in the self-conscious embrace of the modern? Elizabeth Garber has the insight and tenacity to tell us that and more."
--Baron Wormser, former Poet Laureate of Maine, author of ten books of poetry, books on writing craft, two novels, and one memoir, The Road Washes Out in Spring: A Poet's Memoir of Living Off the Grid
"This poignant, very personal memoir by the daughter of one of Cincinnati's premier modern architects traces his ascent and decline, as they parallel those of his style and discipline at the same moments in time. Elizabeth Garber's exquisite prose compliments the love of art and architecture she learned from her father. Her forthrightness and honesty resemble the direct, unpainted, and undecorated aesthetic her father promoted, but her gentle sensitivity is all her own. This is a book about something even more complicated than the most difficult art--family life."
--Jayne Merkel, architectural historian and author of Eero Saarinen

"Implosion is a remarkable feat. Garber allows us to revile her brilliant and destructive architect father as fully as she did when she was coming of age in the 1960s. She also allows us to forgive him as she ultimately does in this wise, searching book. Her story is an echo of the tumultuous cultural revolutions that define her generation. As an architect does, Garber constructs her story room by room, filling the space with both shadow and light. This is a beautiful book, written by a new and exciting writer."
--Meredith Hall, author of Without a Map

"Elizabeth Garber writes with searing clarity about the years she spent living under the oppressive reign of her father. But this isn't just a book about a deeply troubled father-daughter relationship. Rather, it's a story about a family, an art form (architecture), a generation, and a decade in American history that we're still trying to understand. By reading Implosion, one not only gains access to the intimate, tragic details of Garber's broken youth but also to the public world outside her father's realm: one of parallel turmoil, complexity, and yes: implosion. A finely wrought narrative by a brave, unflinching writer."
--Jaed Coffin, author of A Chant to Soothe Wild Elephants: A Memoir

"Elizabeth Garber's memoir drives as well as her dad's fine sports car: sleek, modernist sentences, high-power clarity of perception, bold telling it like it was. Garber never loses touch with the forms of pain caused by her dad's illness. She honors the vulnerability of the whole family in the grips of it, including him. In the end, at the heart of the matter is compassion and the kindness of unconditional love, in spite of it all. And the simple beauty of gathering stones found on a clean, sandy beach."
--Alexandra Merrill, international women's leadership consultant

"...un-put-downable....Elizabeth, a poet, acupuncturist, and mother, has, like an architect--ecologically using salvage materials--taken the shock and trauma of the family's disintegration and built from them a powerful narrative you are reluctant to leave."
--The Architectural Record