The Light of the World

From Grand Central Publishing: In The Light of the World (pub. date April 21, 2015), Elizabeth Alexander finds herself at an existential crossroads after the sudden death of her husband. Channeling her poetic sensibilities into a rich, lucid prose, Alexander tells a love story that is, itself, a story of loss. As she reflects on the beauty of her married life, the trauma resulting from her husband’s death, and the solace found in caring for her two sons, Alexander universalizes a very personal quest for meaning in the wake of loss.

The Light of the World is at once an endlessly compelling memoir and a deeply felt meditation on the blessings of love, family, art and community. It is also a lyrical celebration of a life well-lived and a paean to the enduring gift of human companionship. For those who have loved and lost, or for anyone who cares what matters most, The Light of the World is required reading.

A Best Book of the Year (2015) Pick According to: 

Elizabeth Gilbert, Michelle Obama, The Wall Street Journal (as selected by Dominique Crenn), BrainPickings, PBS Newshour, The Millions, Publisher’s Marketplace, The New Yorker, Library Journal,, Shelf Awareness, The Root, Newsday,, Boston Globe, St. Louis Dispatch, Publishers Weekly, The Guardian, The Huffington Post


 Praise for The Light of the World

This beautiful and sensitively told true love story will stay with me forever.
— Elizabeth Gilbert, author of "Eat, Pray, Love"
This is a gorgeous love story, written by one of America’s greatest contemporary poets. Graceful in its simplicity, sweeping in scope, this book is proof that behind the boarded-up windows of America’s roiled marriages and ruined affairs, true love still exists, and where it does exist, it graces the world—and us—with light and hope. Elizabeth Alexander is a prose writer of deep talent and affecting skill. With ease, she peels back layer after layer to show the soft secrets of affection, the kindness, and the wide open generosity of a full-hearted man and talented artist, who had more love to give in his relatively short lifetime that most of us will ever know.
— James McBride, National Book Award-winning author of "The Good Lord Bird" and #1 New York Times bestseller "The Color of Water"
This is a beautifully written, heartrendingly candid account of the abrupt loss of her husband by the distinguished poet Elizabeth Alexander. It is a vivid, intensely rendered elegy of a remarkable man—husband, father, artist, chef. Both a memoir and a portrait of marriage, The Light of the World, is as its title suggests, a bittersweet testament to love and the memory of love, one of the most compelling memoirs of loss that I have ever read.
— Joyce Carol Oates, author of "A Garden of Earthly Delights" and National Award-winner "Them"
This book, her vision, his life—they are all extraordinary gifts.
— Ann Patchett
A brave and beautiful book about love and loss.
— Jeannette Walls, New York Times bestselling author of "The Glass Castle"
“The Light of the World” is as beautiful and moving as a gorgeous piece of music. The minute I finished it, I longed to read it again.
— Anna Deavere Smith, award-winning playwright and actor
Elizabeth Alexander has written a brave and beautiful book about love and loss — the deep pain that comes with such a loss, and the redemptive realization that such pain is a small price to pay for such a love.
— Jeannette Walls, New York Times bestselling author of "The Glass Castle"
Love — for a marvelous man, for her sons, for the textures and pleasures of the world — shines on every page of Elizabeth Alexander’s The Light of the World. This acutely observed study of what it means to lose one’s beloved is a profound and beautiful contradiction: a joyous book that faces head-on the deepest grief, written with art and courage with limitless heart.
— Mark Doty, poet and author of the memoir "Heaven's Coast"
Remarkably uplifting
— The Washington Post
[An] elegantly drawn memoir.
— Los Angeles Times Book Review
The poet’s answer to her husband’s death is spiritual and ethical.”
— Editors' Choice, New York Times
Like a poem, so carefully has each word, each sentence, been chosen and polished.
— Entertainment Weekly
She shows us how feeding your family and remembering to be aware of the small details of everyday life are the bedrocks of true connection. In this book of prose, each page is a poem.
— O, The Oprah Magazine
THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD is crushing, lovely, painful, and above all powerful.
— New York Journal of Books
[A] gorgeous and intimate tribute.
— Newsday
Authentic and true.
— The Economist
A deeply intimate and lyrical portrait.
— Essence
An elegy that records, in hypnotic waves of love and grief.
— New York Times, T Magazine