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Finalist Beautiful Affliction

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Beautiful Affliction

Lene Fogelberg is dying—she is sure of it—but no doctor in Sweden, her home country, believes her. Love stories enfold her, with her husband, her two precious daughters, her enchanting surroundings, but the question she has carried in her heart since childhood—Will I die young?—is threatening all she holds dear, even her sanity. When her young family moves to the US, an answer, a diagnosis, is finally found: she is in the last stages of a fatal congenital heart disease. But is it too late?

Unflinchingly honest and often harrowing, Beautiful Affliction is an inspiring account of growing up and living on the verge of death—and of the beauty, harshness, loneliness, and, ultimately, unbending love that can be found there.

Fogelberg, a poet, structures her saga well, writing in alternating chapters about growing up with her ‘monster,’ and arriving in the United States, where her condition is diagnosed and she has corrective open-heart surgery. Beautiful Affliction is an unusual, riveting medical drama crafted with deep emotion and exquisite detail.
Alice Cary, Bookpage
Fogelberg’s poetic sensibility shines… Vivid, heartfelt, and carefully crafted, this memoir will resonate with readers. Beautiful Affliction is more than an illness narrative; its meditations on mortality will appeal to all who love the fragile and impermanent.
Lucy Bryan, Rain Taxi Review of Books
In Beautiful Affliction, a gorgeously rendered, poetic memoir/medical mystery, we meet Lene Fogelberg, a wife and mother living a fairy tale existence, except for the fact that she knows she is dying and her doctors don’t believe her.
Allison Tyler, Off the Shelf
Honest, heartbreaking, and thrilling… mesmerizing.
Buzzfeed
This honest and hard-hitting memoir is testament to the love and strength that can be found at the edge of tragedy.
Bustle
Gripping, powerful, touching, beautiful. A memoir about a woman who fights to remain alive because of her daughters and her husband, a story everyone can relate to and will want to read to the inspiring end.
Mette Ivie Harrison, author of Ironmom and New York Times Notable Book The Bishop's Wife
Lene Fogelberg’s memoir of living with an undiagnosed malfunctioning heart since childhood is a testament to the power of love. She allows us, the lucky reader, access to her innermost fears and guilts, offering up her story with such beautiful prose that one is enticed to linger over each word.
Rossandra White, award-winning author of LOVEYOUBYE
Brilliantly paced, weaving glimpses of the author’s past into an ever-tightening noose that engulfs Lene and her young family in adulthood, this memoir left me as breathless as if I’d read a thriller about an unstoppable killer circling its victim. Beautiful Affliction grips the reader and won’t let go until the very last page.
Rita M. Gardner, author of the award-winning memoir The Coconut Latitudes
In her breathtaking memoir, Beautiful Affliction, Lene Fogelberg elegantly unites the savagery and raw beauty of the natural world with the wisdom and poignant insight of a young wife and mother for whom each moment, whether or not she realizes it, may be her last. Exquisite imagery and poetic prose pulse through this powerful, emotionally gripping story. With Beautiful Affliction, Lene Fogelberg gives us a gorgeously written story to savor and share, while adding her shimmering, deeply intelligent voice to the literary pantheon.
Terri Giuliano Long, author of USA Today bestseller In Leah's Wake
Heart-rending and suspense-filled, Fogelberg’s Beautiful Affliction is a graceful meditation on love, marriage, motherhood, and the quotidian precious moments that make a life with young children. Fogelberg’s miraculous story is a gift to readers, both for its exquisite prose and for its humble reminder: Life is short; love deeply.
Laura Nicole Diamond, author of USA Today bestseller Shelter Us
Lene Fogelberg’s story is breathtaking in all the right ways—delicately and skillfully told—and a powerful reminder that life is fragile and can only be lived one breath at a time.
Carol Lynn Pearson, bestselling author, poet and playwright
Beautiful Affliction is an important and beautiful book about the ways in which our health impacts our lives, and the courage, strength, and healing that can result with persistence. A wonderfully honest and sincere memoir.
Laura Pritchett, author of Stars Go Blue and winner of the PEN USA Award
Beautiful Affliction is a deeply moving and important memoir about a young woman fighting for her life against all odds. It’s a suspenseful page-turner and also the work of a poet. Her physical heart is shutting down, even as her emotional heart is filled to bursting with love—for her husband and two little girls, for her whole world that may vanish in an instant. Fogelberg’s breathtaking odyssey will remind the reader of the beauty, fragility, and ephemerality of life. I absolutely love this book. It was an inspiration to read, and it will stay with me for a long time.
Alice Eve Cohen, award-winning author of The Year My Mother Came Back and What I Thought I Knew
Beautiful Affliction is a singular story told with honesty and grace. Drawn into an existence where the next breath isn’t promised, you wonder if your resilience could match Lene’s: Could you chase a riddle halfway around the world, and ultimately, into your own heart? As we root for Lene, we root for ourselves.
Tré Miller Rodríguez, author of Splitting the Difference: A Heart-Shaped Memoir
Lene Fogelberg’s memoir will have even the most doubtful believing in miracles. Honest, unapologetic, inspiring, Beautiful Affliction is ultimately a testament to the sustaining power of love.
Ashley Warner, author of the award-winning memoir The Year After
Lene Fogelberg’s inspiring memoir of life with a literal broken heart teaches us to recognize beauty amidst our own pain and suffering. Having also experienced complicated heart issues and a lifetime of surgeries I found myself reliving my own sacred experience.
Paul Cardall, #1 Billboard Pianist & Steinway Artist
In Beautiful Affliction Lene Fogelberg takes us on a heartwrenching roller coaster ride as we follow her journey into marriage, motherhood, and across the world with the shadow of death as a constant companion. A poignant and poetic testament to love and the will to live, it reminds us to listen to the whispers of our hearts and to never, ever give up on what we desire the most.
Lone Mørch, author of Seeing Red: A Woman's Quest for Truth, Power and the Sacred
Fogelberg has crafted a literary and beautifully compelling story, which is much more than a medical mystery. It is a heartfelt and touching story about a mother who loves her husband and children and struggles with the thought of leaving them behind. Her efforts to give them a sense of her love and how she wants that love to be remembered is what makes this book a magnificent memoir that I will be thinking about for a long time.
Steven L. Peck, author of The Scholar of Moab and A Short Stay in Hell