CRC caregiver client Stacey Lehman writes to tell us about her husband’s forthcoming book. In ONE HUNDRED AUTOBIOGRAPHIES: A Memoir, David Lehman, the well-known poet, critic and the series editor for The Best American Poetry, tells the story of his (provisionally) victorious battle to defeat bladder cancer (Cornell University Press Hardcover; October 15, 2019; $22.95). During the three-year ordeal of his illness and aftermath (he was told his chances were “better than 50-50, which he translated as “no better than 50-50), Lehman kept a journal, and the 100-part structure he adopted for the book allows for flashbacks, memories, meditations, and dreams and the occasion to tell his life story or, better yet, a story of the many lives he has lived.
The book’s chief narrative traces his bout with the dread disease from first scary symptoms through diagnosis, procedures, more procedures, chemotherapy, radical surgery, recovery, and finally the wonderful feeling that descends on you when your oncologist reads your latest scan, beams with pleasure as if you had scored an A+ on the midterm, and tells you that you are cancer-free for the time being.
“For as long as I can remember, I have endeavored to write every day, and I maintained this habit throughout this experience,” David explains. “I wrote about the questions, large and small, that arise when you think you’re approaching the end of the road and you need to make peace with the inevitable. But I also acted on the fierce need to escape – not only into such diversions as great old movies, Wimbledon, and the World Series, but also, and more important, into memory, fantasy, fiction.”