A father reflects on the rich life of his son, who died suddenly at twenty-six after living with schizophrenia.
On the morning of Boxing Day 2009, the poet Fraser Sutherland and his wife, Alison, found their son, Malcolm, dead in his bedroom in their house. He was twenty-six and had died from a seizure of unknown cause. Malcolm had been living with schizophrenia since the age of seventeen.
Fraser’s respectful narration of his son’s life — the boy’s happiness as well as his sufferings, his heroic efforts to calm his troubled mind, his readings, his writings, his experiments with religious thought. This is a master writer’s attempt to give his son’s life shape and dignity, to memorialize his life as more than an illness. And in writing his son’s life, Fraser creates his own self-effacing memoir — the memoir of a parent’s resilience through years of stressful care.
Fraser Sutherland, one of Canada’s finest poetry critics and essayists, died shortly after completing this book.
A RARE MACHINES BOOK
Part elegy, part existential howl, The Book of Malcolm is an investigation of a beloved child's life, of the moods and registers of his mental illness, and of the sometimes harrowing family moments.
— from the Foreword by Carmine Starnino
The Book of Malcolm makes the mundane moments of family and of lived, shared experience shine beautifully. That Sutherland loved his son, and that family is a complicated blessing, are made achingly clear.
— Winnipeg Free Press
About the Author:
Fraser Sutherland (1946–2021) was the author of seventeen previous books of poetry and essays. He was a widely respected critic, editor, and lexicographer. Originally from Pictou, Nova Scotia, he lived for periods in Montreal, Toronto, Sarajevo, British Columbia, Scotland, Portugal, and China.