Alexandra Marshall

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The Silence of Your Name: The Afterlife of a Suicide

  • Paperback
  • November 2021
  • Arrowsmith Press
  • ISBN: 9781734641684

The Silence of Your Name revolves around the suicide of Marshall's charismatic and idealistic young husband, Tim Buxton, while they were in Ghana with Operation Crossroads Africa—a progenitor of the Peace Corps.

Marshall weaves in her husband's hidden family history, one tied to Boston's wealthy social scene and the deaths of notorious Black Sun publisher Harry Crosby and Tim's aunt Josephine Rotch Bigelow. By allowing readers to experience these distinct periods of time in great detail, Marshall illuminates the toxic effects of denial across classes and generations.

As Marshall moves on with her life, now a novelist and young widow, she must navigate her way in the '70s publishing world with the guidance of her friend Philip Roth, while still processing the grief of losing her husband. Decades later, Marshall finds herself in the footprints of her past, journeying to Ghana and reuniting with a royal Queen-Mother and the steadfast community that offered her its support decades earlier. As Pulitzer Prize-winning author Megan Marshall writes, she "is relentless in her quest for understanding and release from grief and guilt [...] but wisdom comes incrementally and her readers partake eagerly at each stage until we, too, have learned that grief may be transformed into love—and brilliant, soothing prose."

Reviews

"The Silence of Your Name is a moving and heartbreaking memoir, a beautiful and haunting exploration of love and loss — and love again." Alice Hoffman, The Book of Magic

"A rare form of memoir. Deeply introspective, insightful, surprising, gripping—and gorgeously written." Taiye Selasi, Ghana Must Go

"An eloquent countermove against the erasure that follows a suicide, Alexandra Marshall's tender, layered memoir is an exploration of how her first husband's death shaped her without being allowed to entirely define her. The burnished clarity of her narrative is an honor to him, to herself, and to her readers." Joan Wickersham, National Book Award finalist for The Suicide Index

"Already a successful novelist, Alexandra Marshall has written a thrilling memoir that redefines the genre. It pairs diversity with aristocracy in an unprecedented way. Everyone who wants to write should read this book!" Susan Cheever, Drinking in America: Our Secret History

"Alexandra Marshall's powerful and beautifully moving memoir is a courageous and compassionate meditation on life and one woman's journey to make sense of a shocking loss, while also paying generous attention to the lives around her and to the future." Jill McCorkle, Hieroglyphics

"Marshall is relentless in her quest for understanding and release from grief and guilt. The journey takes a lifetime, but wisdom comes incrementally and her readers partake eagerly at each stage until we, too, have learned that grief may be transformed into love—and brilliant, soothing prose." Megan Marshall, Pulitzer Prize-winner for Margaret Fuller: A New American Life