In Memorial, acclaimed author Bruce Wagner offers his most extraordinary and affecting book to date -- a profound story of family and faith, and a masterpiece of American fiction.
Joan Herlihy, a young architect desperate to win the commission for a highly coveted Tsunami memorial, has a secret with life-changing consequences. Her brother Chester is keeping secrets as well: he's become addicted to Internet-prescribed painkillers after being injured on a "reality" show. Their estranged father lives nearby -- happy for the first time in his life, Raymond's carefully laid plans for retirement and a second marriage are thrown into shocking disarray when the police break into his apartment in a botched raid. Through it all, Marjorie Herlihy, the lonely, indomitable matriarch, falls prey to a dizzying confidence scheme that will test her powers of survival. Wagner's searing portrait of an old woman trying to save her family and live out her dreams is among the most tender and savage in contemporary literature.
Deeply compassionate and violently irreverent, Memorial is a testament to forgiveness, and the majestic struggle toward transcendence -- a luminous tribute to spirituality in the twenty-first century.
Bruce Wagner is the author of The Chrysanthemum Palace (a PEN Faulkner fiction award finalist); Still Holding; I'll Let You Go (a PEN USA fiction award finalist); I'm Losing You; and Force Majeure. He lives in Los Angeles.
"[Memorial] records a softening of mood and a growing curiosity about other possibilities of being...one senses a moral intelligence missing from much contemporary fiction that aspires...to a Nabokovian poise and beauty."
-- Pankaj Mishra, The New York Times Book Review
"[Wagner] creates a tender vision of modern life, one in which preoccupations with popular culture are an imperfect carapace for the vulnerable hearts underneath."
-- The New Yorker
"Not since William Faulkner have we seen anything quite like this."
-- George Garrett, Hollins University, Virginia
"Memorial is an infinitely detailed, completely engrossing picture of modern America."