For better or for worse. That's the bargain we make with fate when we decide to marry. As someone who had obtained a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from UBC while her spouse had supported her by working full-time at constructive jobs, Kara Stanley accepted the ground rules and then wrote about what happened after her husband, Simon, an aspiring musician, fell and injured the back left side of head.

When she first heard the news of Simon's predicament, she packed a copy of Joan Didion's The Year of Magicial Thinking into her duffel bag when she hurriedly left their home on the Sunshine Coast to visit Simon at the Vancouver General Hospital. Stanley had been reading it already due to her mother's diagnosis of breast and lymphatic cancer. Didion writes about the year following her husband's sudden death and her daughter's near-death experience that followed. Now Kara Stanley's Fallen: A Trauma, A Marriage and the Transformative Power of Music (Greystone 2015) is being compared to Didion's celebrated memoir.

Fallen is special because it incorporates the extent to which music can be a transformative force when coping with a catastrophic brain and spinal cord injury. We follow the slow rehabilitation process and Simon's battle to return to work as a professional musician. For worse and for better.

Kara Stanley has been published in Fugue, HipMama, and Paste.


Ghost Warning (Caitlin 2017) $22.95 978-1-987915-54-9

Fallen: A Trauma, A Marriage and the Transformative Power of Music (Greystone 2015) $19.95 978-1-77164-102-9

[BCBW 2017]