Rachel Hadas

Strange Relation

Poet, essayist, and translator Rachel Hadas has written many books during her three decades teaching at Rutgers. But her latest book, Strange Relation (Paul Dry Books, Philadelphia, Pa.), takes a different turn. In this deeply personal memoir she takes up the topic of her husband's decline into dementia, beginning with the first outward signs of his disease, through his eventual move into an assisted living facility. While there are many writers who have chronicled tragic illness, it's hard to imagine another book that so beautifully interweaves personal memoir with poetry (Hadas' own and others), and meaningful literary references (from Greek tragedy to contemporary letters). The reader is left with the conviction, stronger than ever, that literature can provide not only great comfort, but aid in our understanding of the human condition, in all its complexity. In Hadas' words, “this ordeal has eloquently reminded me of the sustaining power of literature. Part of what I hope to do in this book is to share that power.”

Rachel Hadas is Board of Governors Professor of English at Rutgers University in Newark

Interview with Rachel Hadas on National Public Radio, March 10, 2011
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Also by the author: The River of Forgetfulness