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My Foreign Cities: A Memoir (Hardback)
  • My Foreign Cities: A Memoir (Hardback)
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My Foreign Cities: A Memoir (Hardback)

(author)
£16.99
Hardback 304 Pages / Published: 08/04/2013
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When she was just seventeen, independent and ambitious Elizabeth Scarboro fell in love with irreverent and irresistible Stephen. She knew he had cystic fibrosis, that he was expected to live only until the age of thirty or so, and that soon she'd have a choice to make. She could set out to travel, date, and lead the adventurous life she'd imagined, or she could be with Stephen, who came with an urgency of his own. In choosing him, Scarboro embraced another kind of adventure-simultaneously joyous and heartrending-staying with Stephen and building a life in the ten years they'd have together. The illness would be present in the background of their lives and then ever-more-insistently in the foreground.

Beyond the illness, though, is a breathtaking love story. In crystalline prose, Scarboro describes the pulse of her relationship with Stephen with all its illuminating quirks. Like any young couple, they agonize about career choices, attempt ill-fated road trips, bargain about whether to adopt a puppy, and host one memorably disastrous Thanksgiving. They navigate the growing pains of their twenties alongside the twists and turns of life-threatening disease; if their telephone rings at midnight, the caller might be a heartbroken friend, or the hospital offering a new set of lungs. As time goes on and trouble looms, the dangers of Stephen's illness consume her, just as they will consume readers who feel they have come to know this extraordinary couple.

Scarboro tells her story of fierce love and its limitations with humor, grace, and remarkable bravery. My Foreign Cities is a portrait of a young couple approaching mortality with reckless abandon, gleefully outrunning it for as long as they can.

Publisher: WW Norton & Co
ISBN: 9780871403384
Number of pages: 304
Weight: 400 g
Dimensions: 218 x 150 x 28 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
"This is a book that demands your whole heart: My Foreign Cities is an extraordinary memoir of a young couple's journey together in the face of devastating loss. With humor, grace, and excruciating tenderness, Scarboro dives deep into beauty and pain, joy and grief, and reminds us what a fragile, miraculous, and ferocious thing life is. An unforgettable story told with the force and conviction of love itself." -- Catherine Chung, author of Forgotten Country
"Read the first page of Elizabeth Scarboro's memoir My Foreign Cities, and you're ready for the inevitable tears... More unexpected is this writer's intelligent and gripping honesty... In writing this book [Scarboro] provides certain comfort to others who know what she knows about `returning to the strange country I lived in now,' the one called life." -- Amy Shearn - O Magazine
"Elizabeth Scarboro shows us what those fortunate enough to find the deepest love will do for each other. Her memoir is a moving story that will shine its warm light for anyone navigating the rough country of illness with a partner. With some personal observation of the lay of this land, I will shout out-quality medical insurance for all, in our time!" -- Julie Metz, New York Times bestselling author of Perfection
"At its heart, this beautiful memoir is a love story. And what a love story it is: convincing, clear-eyed, honest, prismatic and saturated with warmth and hard-won wisdom." -- Robin Romm, author of The Mercy Papers: A Memoir of Three Weeks
"What strikes you about Elizabeth Scarboro's My Foreign Cities is how well the author sees. Much of the time grappling with the illness of the man she loves is spent in observing him and everything around them both, as if seeing were a way of preserving. Of course, it is. And so, this book, so cleanly written, becomes a quiet lesson in how death may be confronted by an alert and embracing concentration on life." -- Roger Rosenblatt, author of Kayak Morning and Making Toast
"In this paradoxically triumphant love story, written with verve, style, and unexpected modesty, Elizabeth Scarboro reveals youth maturing before the reader's eyes. She does this by packing into one decade more experience, drama, change, and devotion than some lovers ever achieve and shows us that it's the quality, not quantity, that counts." -- Alix Kates Shulman, author of To Love What Is: A Marriage Transformed and Memoirs of an Ex-Prom Queen
"In My Foreign Cities, Scarboro invites us to accompany her on every mile of her joyous, often terrifying, sad and exalted journey of love. A natural storyteller, she brings vividly to life her struggles both to protect Stephen, who has a "lightness about him," and to keep him at her side as long as she can so that they can embrace life to its fullest. She leads us down the path where his medical condition consumes every waking minute of their lives-including a lung transplant, its results and Stephen's eventual decline-and shares her agony, her joy, her anger and her indecision with us." -- Henry L. Carrigan, Jr. - BookPage
"Conceived from a New York Times "Modern Love" column, this entrancing story of a woman's marriage to Stephen, a man living with cystic fibrosis (CF), should not be written off as merely a memoir of disease. When Scarboro met her future husband at 17, she struggled to make a life for herself while faced with the challenge of loving someone with a constantly looming expiration date. While Scarboro, her husband, and CF are the three main characters, the story truly shines as the two try to navigate their twenties bouncing between the Bay Area, Boulder, and Boston during the 1990s. ...This book squeezes a soul-encompassing marriage into the events of just one decade, and Scarboro manages to tell-with strength and grace-her all-too-short love story...." -- Library Journal
"In Scarboro's clear-eyed, plain-spoken prose, readers will feel her sense of panic and share in her bewilderment as she paces hospital waiting rooms, doles out pills from a locked tackle box and makes end-of-life decisions before Stephen's lung transplant. Yet for all its raw immediacy, this memoir is also tempered with the hard-won perspective that comes with time.... My Foreign Cities is not a self-help book in the classic sense but it will help you in the way that any good book does-by seizing your imagination, searing its story in your memory and laying bare a journey of inspiration, quiet heroism and heart." -- Kirk Reed Forrester - Kirkus Reviews
"Uplifting. This is not just a story about the challenges of loving someone with a terminal illness; it's about recognizing those precious moments in life that Virginia Woolf once called `moments of being.' It's about savoring the present, not allowing sadness to dominate and surrendering yourself to love, for better or worse.... My Foreign Cities is a story of extremes, and although its particulars may not be familiar to many readers, its lessons on savoring our days and wasting no time are truly universal." -- Carmela Ciuraru - San Francisco Chronicle
"Her thoughtful memoir takes readers on the beautiful and painful journey of loving someone with a life-threatening illness.... Teen readers will enjoy the romance-unsentimentally portrayed-of marrying a childhood sweetheart and the grit of sticking with him through breathing tubes and ventilators." -- School Library Journal

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