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Year of Plenty: A Family's Season of Grief by B.J. Hollars

Year of Plenty: A Family's Season of Grief by B.J. Hollars

Regular price $24.95 Sale

From University of Wisconsin Press:

“Hollars helps show us how it’s possible to stay present, how to notice, even—or especially—when we’re in the thick of it. I fell in love with this whole beautiful family—and then I took some of that cracked-open-heart tenderness back to my own dear ones.”
—Jill Christman, author of If This Were Fiction: A Love Story in Essays

Can we ever fully understand the experiences of others? Can we ever even know ourselves?

In November 2020, B.J. Hollars answered a call from his father-in-law while teaching. “When will you be home?” Steve asked. “I have news.” 

So began the Hollars family’s year of plenty—a cancer diagnosis on top of the ongoing COVID pandemic, then feelings of falling short as parents, partners, and people. While Hollars traces his family’s daily devastations alongside his father-in-law’s decline, he recounts the small mercies along the way: birthdays, campfires, fishing trips, kayaking, and fireflies. As he, his wife, Meredith, and their three young children grapple with how best to say goodbye to the person they love, they are forced to reassess their own lives. How can we make the most of our time, they wonder, when time feels so short?

Written in vignettes and accompanied by photographs and family interviews, Year of Plenty provides a poignant and unflinching account of how death separates us not only from the people we love but from places and memories too. Hollars explores how death’s all-consuming weight has the potential to fracture—rather than strengthen—even those relationships we think we know the best. Ultimately, he cracks wide personal moments from his own life and allows the world to peer in.