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New York Times bestselling author J. A. Jance's heartrending collection of poetry and essays recounts a dark chapter of her own life, her first marriage to an alcoholic—a powerful look at the emotional cost of addiction and an inspiring story of courage and triumph in the wake of crushing defeat
Before she found fame as a bestselling mystery author, Judith Jance wrestled with the anguish of being married to an alcoholic. For years she channeled her pain into words, composing the poems in this moving volume, first published in 1984, a year before her debut novel.
In searing and direct language, After the Fire chronicles the collapse of Jance's first marriage under the weight of her husband's addiction—and her own unwitting denial and codependence while she struggled to find herself. "I will not be the price of your redemption," she wrote then. "I will not pay my life to ransom yours."
An intimate, deeply personal look into a wrenching time in Jance's life, After the Fire is a portrait of addiction and its insidious effects on lives and love. It illuminates universal truths about unbearable loss and finding the courage to carry on, and offers inspiration and profound insight into the heart and work of a beloved bestselling author.
From the Inside Flap: That fire can cleanse as well as destroy is no mystery to J. A. Jance. Before she found fame as a best-selling mystery author, Judith Jance wrestled with the personal anguish of being married to an alcoholic. For years she composed poetry in secret and kept it locked away. Finally it was published as "After the Fire" in 1984, the year before her debut novel. "After the Fire" chronicled the death of a relationship as Jance's marriage to her first husband gradually collapsed under the weight of his addiction--aided and abetted by her own unwitting denial and co-dependence--while she struggled to find herself. "I will not be the price of your redemption," she wrote then. "I will not pay my life to ransom yours." Now this deeply personal work is available in a new annotated edition. In it, Jance offers unblinking insights into where she was and what was happening when each of these searing poems was written--remaking "After the Fire" as more than a collection of poetry. Now it is a portrait of addiction and the insidious ways in which it destroys relationships. As Jance now observes while reflecting on these poems, "I could remember that spring morning sitting at the Formica table in my Phoenix kitchen and writing 'The Collector' while bags of unpacked groceries waited on the table beside me. I recalled everything about that long, long New Year's Eve vigil at my dying former husband's bedside. I felt once again the velvet smoothness of 'Fog' as I walked through a Seattle September morning on my way to a new life. . . . My life is far richer because of this book. My hope is that others will find answers here as well--answers and their own share of strength and courage." A work of crushingdefeat and ultimate triumph, "After the Fire" relates an emotional journey that will be readily recognizable to anyone who has seen love destroyed and then found the strength to go on. It will inspire others who are struggling with similar issues as it allows fans of Jance's mysteries to better know the mind--and heart--of a favorite author.
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