The Geography of Love
By Glenda Burgess
(Crown Archetype, Hardcover, 9780767928595, 320pp.)
Publication Date: August 5, 2008
Other Editions of This Title: Paperback
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“If I had given it much thought, I might have hesitated to marry a man for whom at the age of 45 much of the past was too painful to consider--for either of us. Truthfully, thought had little to do with it. Instinct did--the instinct to seize a sure and ebullient happiness or go down trying.”
Falling in love is arguably the greatest risk and leap of faith any of us take. There’s no guarantee for future happiness, no protection from the ugly scars of the past, no shield from tragedy--this powerful memoir reminds us why we bother.
At a lakeside café in the summer of 1988, 31-year-old Glenda Burgess is sitting across from 44-year-old Kenneth Grunzweig and falling in love. Then Ken confesses that he has already been widowed twice, under harrowing circumstances. This tragic past, the age difference, Ken’s emotionally scarred teenage daughter--all might be enough to send anyone running, but Glenda believed in her instincts, believed more than anything that this lovely, generous man would shape her life. And Ken, who with his heartbreaking losses had long said that he’d given up on love, came to share a sense of their romantic destiny. The two embark on the sort of love affair that many of us don’t believe exist anymore--a grand romance that buoys them through the birth of two kids and fifteen magical years of marriage until tragedy strikes again in the form of a shadowy spot on Ken’s lung. The journey that follows will test their resilience and strengthen their devotion.
The Geography of Love is a book about believing in first instincts and second chances.
It is a poignant exploration of the depths of the human heart and our ability to love and to trust no matter the obstacles.
It is a reminder that “real” life is always richer, stranger, and more extraordinary than fiction.
It is the most moving love story you’ll read this year.
GLENDA BURGESS is the author of two novels, Exposures and Loose Threads. She lives in Spokane, Washington.
1. In her memoir's prologue, Glenda Burgess recalls the child-friendly explanation her father gave for shooting stars: "Just a bit of chance and chaos, Sunshine. Atoms that dance." How do these images apply to love? Did this description of the universe prove true in her life?
"A beautiful, eloquent, moving love story that shows that when we believe in love, we can reach heights we never imagined."
--Rabbi Sherre Hirsch, author of We Plan, God Laughs
"A courageous woman’s journey into love’s complexities, navigating what it means to be tied by blood or circumstance across distance and time, while revealing much about human resilience. Framed by spiritual and celestial contemplations, Burgess’ profound observations convince me to embrace and savor wholly each day, each moment, each love, before they, too, are gone."
--Katrina Roberts, author of The Quick and Friendly Fire, winner of the Idaho Prize for Poetry
"I read Glenda Burgess' poignant and harrowing memoir in one sitting–in one breath–and all I had ever felt about love's ability to vanquish everything, to swallow heartbreak, to correct history, Burgess makes us believe. And in a fashion that reads like a classic novel." –Jacquelyn Mitchard, author of The Deep End of the Ocean
"Burgess' tender recollections…remind us all that we tend to be defined by our great loves well after we've lived them." --Elle Magazine
"Burgess lyrically and perceptively explores how the body, emotions and experiences are connected, how love and misfortune affect that landscape...Wrenchingly painful, but intensely affecting." --Kirkus
"Burgess’ journey possesses bravery and open-eyed clarity." --PW
"The resulting memoir...is truly a story of hope. It's the story of the hope that the Burgess family clung to along their journey and the faith they shared in the power and endurance of their love. But it is also a story of hope for the reader--the hope to have this kind of loving ally at one's side during any adversity that life may bring."
--The Tampa Tribune