A New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice. A fierce memoir of a mother’s murder, a daughter’s coming-of-age in the wake of immense loss, and her mission to know the woman who gave her life.
When Sarah Perry was twelve, she saw a partial eclipse; she took it as a good omen for her and her mother, Crystal. But that moment of darkness foreshadowed a much larger one: two days later, Crystal was murdered in their home in rural Maine.
It took twelve years to find the killer. In that time, Sarah rebuilt her life amid abandonment, police interrogations, and the exacting toll of trauma. She dreamed of a trial, but when the day came, it brought no closure.
It was not her mother’s death she wanted to understand, but her life. She began her own investigation, one that drew her back to Maine, deep into the darkness of a small American town.
“Pull[ing] the reader swiftly along on parallel tracks of mystery and elegy” in After the Eclipse, “Perry succeeds in restoring her mother’s humanity and her own” (The New York Times Book Review).
A 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 the Portland 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 A Publisher’s Weekly Pick of the Week “Stunning . . . A graceful and powerful memorial.”—Entertainment Weekly “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 “A gut punch . . . A heartbreaking yet hopeful testament to human resilience.”—Samantha Irby, Marie Claire “After the Eclipse is both a heartfelt memoir and a suspenseful story. With its many twist and turns, the mystery of this murdered woman and the small town of people who knew and loved her, it feels like I’m reading a prequel to Twin Peaks.”—Gabourey Sidibe, Book of the Month Club “Raw and perfect . . . I’ve never read a better depiction of how a sudden, violent event rips through a human being’s apprehension of reality . . . [It’s] an unfussy, richly textured remembrance of a town, a family, a particular place on the planet that its author knows all the way down to her bones—the strengths of a classic memoir . . . After the Eclipse [has] an eerie, heartbreaking power that it shares with the very best of true crime.”—Laura Miller, Slate “Perry weaves together her painful memories of that night with archival research and journalistic interviews to not only piece together the details of her mother’s death, but illuminate the woman she was before it. With clear, powerful prose, Perry paints a portrait of unconventional motherhood while questioning society’s handling of violence against women. Reminiscent of Maggie Nelson’s The Red Parts, After the Eclipse tells the very human story at the center of a needless crime.”—W Magazine “Profoundly moving . . . Explores the systemic misogyny and classism in small-town America, and revolves around the life of Perry’s mother, Crystal, who shines from the borders of this often unbearably dark story as bright as the sun on a summer day . . . Powerful.”—Nylon “With rich prose, Sarah Perry tackles grief, and how we persevere in the face of tragedy.”—Portland Press Herald  —