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Liz Tichenor has taken her newborn son, five weeks old, to the doctor, from a cabin on the shores of Lake Tahoe. She is sent home to her husband and two-year-old daughter with the baby, who is pronounced "fine" by an urgent care physician. Six hours later, the baby dies in their bed. Less than a year and a half before, Tichenor's mother jumped from a building and killed herself after a long struggle with alcoholism. As a very young Episcopal priest, Tichenor has to "preach the Good News," to find faith where there is no hope, but she realizes these terrible parts of her own life will join her in the pulpit.
The Night Lake is the story of finding a way forward through tragedies that seem like they might be beyond surviving and of carving out space for the slow labor of learning to live again, in grief.
"Tichenor's courageous memoir is an exquisitely crafted, painfully beautiful chronicle of loss. She articulates the immensity of her feelings and emotions with unbridled candor that, at times, is difficult to read, but ultimately evokes hard-fought rebirth, resurrection and the presence of God . . . Navigating as a bereft wife and mother, a pastor, a friend and a daughter orphaned because of her mother's helplessness, Tichenor discovers that pain, joy and sadness can prove enlightening, buoying her with hope and eloquent moments of grace. A devastatingly beautiful memoir by a young mother and newly ordained Episcopal priest who is forced to reconcile the loss of her newborn son." —Kathleen Gerard, Shelf Awareness
"Heart-wrenching yet gorgeous . . . Tichenor’s honest and plush writing lets readers sink into her settings and emotions, whether in grief, hope, or wonder. Perfect for fans of Anne Lamott and any reader interested in the intersection of grief and faith." —Kathy Sexton, Booklist (starred review)
"A powerful, forthright chronicle of surviving profound loss." —Kirkus
"From an unspeakable loss, Liz Tichenor speaks. With a courage both heartrending and fierce, she traces a terrain of aching grace. The Night Lake is an astonishingly generous gift." —Jan Richardson, author of Sparrow: A Book of Life and Death and Life
"The Night Lake author Liz Tichenor uses spare, honest, muscular prose to tell a rending story of loss . . . In the face of planetary and individual death and grief, I learn again from The Night Lake that there are companions for us in this world, and that the world is suffused with overflowing love. Run—for she is a runner—with Tichenor—through the story of loss and love that is The Night Lake—it is a story for our time, for all of us." —Marc Andrus, Episcopal Bishop of the Diocese of California
“When Tichenor suffers two tragic and primary losses in her late twenties, she collapses into grief, even as her calling as an Episcopal priest presses her to support others in theirs. With grace, humility, and even humor, she grounds the unfathomable in rituals ornate and ordinary. The result is a raw meditation on fear and courage, loss and love.” — Cynthia Li, MD, author of Brave New Medicine
"Written with extraordinary insight and grace, The Night Lake is a stunning and powerful reminder that tragedy can’t be overcome by avoidance; that surrendering to heartache loosens its grip; that true acceptance abides even the deepest pain." —Margaret Wilkerson Sexton, author of The Revisioners
“Such a sad, tough story, but finally so life-affirming, filled with spirit and love.” —Anne Lamott