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Here After by Amy Lin

Memoir

Here After

Debut

We love supporting debut authors. Congrats, Amy Lin, on your first book!

by Amy Lin

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Quick take

Grief has its own grammar. This poetic, visceral exploration of the sudden loss of a spouse will rewire your heart.

Melancholy

Good to know

  • Illustrated icon, Emotional

    Emotional

  • Illustrated icon, Nonlinear_Timeline

    Nonlinear timeline

  • Illustrated icon, Sad

    Sad

  • Illustrated icon, Literary

    Literary

Synopsis

“When he dies, I fall out of time.”

Amy Lin never expected to find a love like the one she shares with her husband, Kurtis, a gifted young architect who pulls her toward joy, adventure, and greater self-acceptance. On a sweltering August morning, only a few months shy of the newlyweds’ move to Vancouver, thirty-two-year-old Kurtis heads out to run a half-marathon with Amy’s family. It’s the last time she sees her husband alive.

Ten days after this seismic loss, Amy is in the hospital, navigating her own shocking medical crisis and making life-or-death decisions about her treatment.

What follows is a rich and unflinchingly honest portrayal of her life with Kurtis, the vortex created by his death, and the ongoing struggle Amy faces as she attempts to understand her own experience in the context of commonly held “truths” about what the grieving process looks like.

Here After is an intimate story of deep love followed by dizzying loss; a memoir so finely etched that its power will remain with you long after the final page.

Content warning

This book contains mentions of suicidal ideation.

Free sample

Get an early look from the first pages of Here After.

Here After

1

The first time I see Kurtis, I do not know who he is.

I am in my car, paused by a pedestrian crosswalk. He passes in front of my vehicle. He is on his way to a blind date. I am on my way to a blind date. He wears a dark blue blazer. His legs are long, his body lithe and graceful.

Why can’t I ever meet a man like that? I think. He’s gorgeous.

2

Online, a post asks followers:

What is one thing you wish other people knew about grief?

I read the first twelve of over several hundred responses:

It doesn’t end.

It won’t stop.

You think about it all the time.

It never ends.

It is always with you.

It doesn’t quit.

It never goes away.

It is exhausting.

It is ever present.

It is always there.

No amount of time lessens the grief.

It is forever.

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Why I love it

I’m the kind of reader who treats “I cried” as a firm endorsement of a book. Based on Here After’s premise, it was perhaps foreseeable that I found myself unmoored and wet-faced upon finishing it. However, I could never have predicted how severely this book would gut me.

Amy Lin’s husband was just 32 when he died. They were happy, healthy, newly married, and deeply in love. Here After is Lin’s exploration of the aftermath of his death as much as it is a celebration of their courtship. We see Kurtis through Lin’s eyes—his contagious enthusiasm and zest for life—and feel her emptiness without him by her side.

Here After is gorgeously written in poetic vignettes. It is so emotionally raw you will be tempted to look away, but Lin’s utter lack of self-pity will keep you grounded, on the page, in the moment. This is one of the most affecting books I have ever read. It voices the deepest fears we all keep in the back of our minds: the knowledge that we cannot protect the ones we love, and that, someday, we will have to go on without them. So yes, I cried. But I also came away from this book grateful to be alive and grateful to be loved, and so will you.

Member ratings (3,874)

  • Danielle W.

    Hainesport, NJ

    Heartbreakingly beautiful in both the story and it’s telling. This book was a beautiful and honest reflection on the grief which so many of us are aquatinted with. I highly recommend this. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

  • Greta D.

    Macomb, IL

    “Grief is chronic pain. When will others allow the mourning to live without expecting them to be ‘cured’”? A true five stars. I didn’t want to stop, so many emotions. An artistic painting of the gut

  • Kaitlyn W.

    Miami, FL

    I don’t know if I’ve ever actually used the word moving to describe a book but I can’t think of any other. Wasn’t sure what to expect but the mix of emotions is so intoxicating you can’t stop reading.

  • Caitlin E.

    Spring lake, NC

    I LOVED THIS ❤️ it’s beautiful and sad and unflinchingly honest. I’ve never had a book touch me so deeply… I’d have to stop, sit with it, process it, read it to Gage, cry… just devastatingly raw.

  • Billy N.

    Calgary, AB

    I don’t like rating memoirs because I feel it’s like rating someone’s life. But I did really enjoy hearing about the heartbreak of this author and her struggling with grief. We’re from the same city!

Memoir
The Many Lives of Mama Love
Did I Ever Tell You?
Here After
The Wives
More
How to Say Babylon
Wild Game
While You Were Out
Grief Is for People
All That You Leave Behind
Leaving the Witness
Group
The Beauty in Breaking
The Girl Who Smiled Beads
Small Fry
Aftershocks
Too Much Is Not Enough
Notes on a Silencing
Kitchen Confidential
Memoir
View all
The Many Lives of Mama Love
Did I Ever Tell You?
Here After
The Wives
More
How to Say Babylon
Wild Game
While You Were Out
Grief Is for People
All That You Leave Behind
Leaving the Witness
Group
The Beauty in Breaking
The Girl Who Smiled Beads
Small Fry
Aftershocks
Too Much Is Not Enough
Notes on a Silencing
Kitchen Confidential