After the Eclipse

AFTER THE ECLIPSE

A Mother's Murder, A Daughter's Search


When Sarah Perry was twelve, she saw a partial eclipse of the sun, an event she took as a sign of good fortune for her and her mother, Crystal. But that brief moment of darkness ultimately foreshadowed a much larger one: two days later, Crystal was murdered in their home in rural Maine, just a few feet from Sarah’s bedroom.

The killer escaped unseen; it would take the police twelve years to find him, time in which Sarah grew into adulthood, struggling with abandonment, police interrogations, and the effort of rebuilding her life when so much had been lost.

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When Sarah Perry was twelve, she saw a partial eclipse of the sun, an event she took as a sign of good fortune for her and her mother, Crystal. But that brief moment of darkness ultimately foreshadowed a much larger one: two days later, Crystal was murdered in their home in rural Maine, just a few feet from Sarah’s bedroom.

The killer escaped unseen; it would take the police twelve years to find him, time in which Sarah grew into adulthood, struggling with abandonment, police interrogations, and the effort of rebuilding her life when so much had been lost. Through it all she would dream of the eventual trial, a conviction—all her questions finally answered. But after the trial, Sarah’s questions only grew. She wanted to understand her mother’s life, not just her final hours, and so she began a personal investigation, one that drew her back to Maine, taking her deep into the abiding darkness of a small American town.

Told in searing prose, After the Eclipse is a luminous memoir of uncomfortable truth and terrible beauty, an exquisite memorial for a mother stolen from her daughter, and a blazingly successful attempt to cast light on her life once more.

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  • Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Paperback
  • September 2018
  • 384 Pages
  • 9781328511911

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$14.99

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About Sarah Perry

Sarah Perry holds an MFA in nonfiction from Columbia University, where she served as publisher of Columbia: A Journal of Literature and Art and was a member of the journal’s nonfiction editorial board. She is the recipient of a Writers’ Fellowship from the Edward F. Albee Foundation and a Javits Fellowship from the U.S. Department of Education, and has attended residencies at Norton Island in Maine and PLAYA in Oregon. Perry’s prose has appeared in Blood & Thunder magazine and Bluestockings Literary Journal. She lives in Brooklyn.

Praise

New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice
A Best Book of the Year by BookPage
A Must-Read Title of the Fall by Entertainment Weekly, W Magazine,  and thePortland Press Herald
A Best Nonfiction Title of the Year from Nylon
A Great Nonfiction Title of September by Bustle
A Notable Nonfiction Debut of the Year by Poets & Writers
A Notable Fall Title by Book Reporter
A Barnes & Noble Discover Pick
Publisher’s Weekly Pick of the Week

“Stunning . . . A graceful and powerful memorial.”Entertainment Weekly

“A gut punch . . . A heartbreaking yet hopeful testament to human resilience.”Samantha Irby, Marie Claire

After the Eclipse pulls the reader swiftly along on parallel tracks of mystery and elegy . . . Perry’s scrupulous research and painstaking rendering of her experiences make her a trustworthy guide through such emotionally charged terrain. She’s also a wonderful writer with an assured sense of when to zoom in to her body’s somatic response for a piercing immediacy and when to pull back to convey the measured perspective gained through the distance of time. Many moments of beauty and tenderness rise up through the darkness. In the end, Perry succeeds in restoring her mother’s humanity, and her own.”Bliss Broyard, New York Times Book Review