I AM, I AM, I AM, Maggie O’Farrell’s memoir—longlisted for the Wellcome Trust Book Prize and a Book of the Year in The Sunday Times, The Times, Guardian, Irish Times, Observer, Red, and The Telegraph— is out in paperback March 26.
We are never closer to life than when we brush up against the possibility of death.
I AM, I AM, I AM is Maggie O’Farrell’s astonishing memoir of the near-death experiences that have punctuated and defined her life. The childhood illness that left her bedridden for a year, which she was not expected to survive. A teenage yearning to escape that nearly ended in disaster. An encounter with a disturbed man on a remote path. And, most terrifying of all, an ongoing, daily struggle to protect her daughter–for whom this book was written–from a condition that leaves her unimaginably vulnerable to life’s myriad dangers.
Seventeen discrete encounters with Maggie at different ages, in different locations, reveal a whole life in a series of tense, visceral snapshots. In taut prose that vibrates with electricity and restrained emotion, O’Farrell captures the perils running just beneath the surface, and illuminates the preciousness, beauty, and mysteries of life itself.
Praise for I AM, I AM, I AM:
“Transfixing. . . . A mystical howl, a thrumming, piercing reminder of how very closely we all exist alongside what could have happened, but didn’t.” —The New York Times Book Review
“Heartbreaking, life-affirming, beautiful. . . . Taken together, these vignettes make up a sharply intimate portrait of what it is to be a person in a body—and in particular, a female body.” —San Francisco Chronicle
“An extraordinary book, a reminder that while life has its limits and can be unpredictable, we should push against limitations and not give in to fear.” —NPR
“A uniquely complete portrait of a life fully lived. . . . Its unconventional structure probes deep questions about the human condition, and it establishes a narrative that finds meaning and truth in life’s chaos and randomness.” —Entertainment Weekly
“Clever and poignant, thought provoking and deeply affective.” —GOOP
“This intense, unsparing memoir is less about death than about chance, risk and the gift of another day.” —People Magazine
“A pleasure to read. And, indeed, difficult to stop reading. . . . There are echoes of Virginia Woolf not just in the rhythm of the prose but also in its dreamlike immediacy. The effect, ingeniously, is of a life told through the gaps, those near misses, on the eluding of which the rest of life hangs.” —The Wall Street Journal
“Where other writers may be playing with paper, O’Farrell takes up a bow and arrow and aims at the human heart.” —The Guardian
“I Am, I Am, I Am is a gripping and glorious investigation of death that leaves the reader feeling breathless, grateful, and fully alive. Maggie O’Farrell is a miracle in every sense. I will never forget this book.” —Ann Patchett