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The Terrible
Cover of The Terrible
The Terrible
A Storyteller's Memoir
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Winner of the PEN Ackerley Prize • Longlisted for the 2019 PEN Open Book Award“Devastating and lyrical.” —The New York Times“Suspenseful and...
Winner of the PEN Ackerley Prize • Longlisted for the 2019 PEN Open Book Award“Devastating and lyrical.” —The New York Times“Suspenseful and...
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Description-

  • Winner of the PEN Ackerley Prize • Longlisted for the 2019 PEN Open Book Award
    “Devastating and lyrical.” —The New York Times

    “Suspenseful and affecting.” —The New Yorker
    From the celebrated poet behind bone, a collection of poems that tells a story of coming-of-age, uncovering the cruelty and beauty of the world, going under, and finding redemption

    Through her signature sharp, searing poems, this is the story of Yrsa Daley-Ward and all the things that happened. “Even the terrible things. And God, there were terrible things.” It’s about her childhood in the northwest of England with her beautiful, careworn mother Marcia; the man formerly known as Dad (half fun, half frightening); and her little brother Roo, who sees things written in the stars.
    It’s also about the surreal magic of adolescence, about growing up and discovering the power and fear of sexuality, about pitch-gray days of pills and powder and connection. It’s about damage and pain, but also joy. With raw intensity and shocking honesty, The Terrible is a collection of poems that tells the story of what it means to lose yourself and find your voice.
    “You may not run away from the thing that you are
    because it comes and comes and comes as sure as you breathe.”

Excerpts-

  • From the cover Prologue

    My little brother and I saw a unicorn in the garden in the late nineties. I’m telling you.

    Neither one of us made it up; it was as real as anything else. Sometimes, when the world around us grew indistinct, when facts would blur into less certain truths and frightening things looked set to occur, the two of us could see clearly into the Fourth Dimension. So when Linford James was on a ladder at midnight, banging on the bedroom windows, shouting at Mum,

    and later, when the color in his throat deepened and they were nose to nose, neither one of them spotted the unicorn. Adults went about their lives missing beauty all the time.

    Little Roo was six. I was ten. The unicorn strode a couple of majestic laps of the garden, before vanishing completely into the rosebush. The Fourth Dimension was our only explanation for this. We weren’t dreaming.

    That night, Mum called the police. The next evening, Linford was sleeping in her bed again, snoring the walls down in his frightening manner.

    The unicorn wasn’t the only strange thing. Living in Chorley, up in the North, we were closer to the sky than most. What luck. Little Roo often saw things written in the stars. Signs, Facts and Other Things. I’m telling you.

    He knew why adults said the things they said. And why they didn’t mean the things they said and even less what they did. Sometimes it wasn’t answers that he found, but entirely perfect questions. A genius, my little brother.

About the Author-

  • YRSA DALEY-WARD is a writer and poet of mixed West Indian and West African heritage. Born to a Jamaican mother and a Nigerian father, Yrsa was raised by her devout Seventh Day Adventist grandparents in the small town of Chorley in the North of England. She splits her time between London and Los Angeles.

Reviews-

  • AudioFile Magazine In this memoir, poet Yrsa Daley-Ward, the author of BONE, delivers a lyrical narration of her past troubles involving sex, drugs, and issues of womanhood and identity. Not typical in memoirs, Daley-Ward's nonfiction title brings in elements of fiction. "My little brother and I saw a unicorn in the garden in the late nineties," she narrates. Although her delivery is very fast in places, her vocal variation makes it work. Howard Daley-Ward's voice comes in later in the audiobook to give life to Yrsa's younger brother, Roo. In contrast to Yrsa's rich voice, Howard's sounds a bit stiff. This work, like BONE, aims to be accessible but still poetic. Told unflinchingly, its rawness is elevated by the author's voice. A.C. � AudioFile 2018, Portland, Maine

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