The Rooms of Heaven
By Mary Allen
(Vintage, Paperback, 9780679776567, 336pp.)
Publication Date: April 11, 2000
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"A love story, a memoir, a haunting tale of grief and healing. This book is all that and more." --Chicago Tribune
In the tradition of Susanna Kaysen's Girl, Interrupted and Caroline Knapp's Drinking: A Love Story, Mary Allen tells a riveting love story that explores the uncharted territory between passion and addiction, grief and madness, this world and the next.
When Mary Allen falls in love with Jim Beaman, she doesn't know he has a drug problem, but she does sense demons and angels around him, like "a disturbance in the air, a sound just beyond the register of human hearing." And when Jim--discouraged and depressed, struggling with his addiction--kills himself a year into their relationship, Allen is unable to let him go. In her desperate attempts to recover from the loss, she uses a Ouija board and automatic writing to pull back from reality into the dark recesses of her mind, where she believes she can find him. The result is a mesmerizing trip across the boundaries between this world and the afterlife, a journey that leads her to the brink of insanity and ultimately back to herself.
Mary Allen lives in Iowa City, Iowa.
"Wrenching in its spare, humble prose....It will stay with you." --Esquire
"Intelligent, humorous, unsentimental...[The Rooms of Heaven] convince[s] us that the mystery of love is indeed far greater and more profound than the mystery of death." --Francine Prose, Elle