A transcendent memoir by poet Maria Mutch about the distances that can form between people who should be the closest of all—husband and wife, parent and child, lifelong friends and partners.
Unfolding over the witching hours between midnight and 6am, this moving and meditative book takes place during the two year period in which the author's son Gabriel, who is autistic and also has Down Syndrome, did not sleep through the night. Gabriel spends much of his life as a puzzling enigma to his parents, but when he becomes unlocked by jazz music, his mother finds herself taking him into jazz clubs at all hours of the night, where he becomes a favorite patron. There is a fierce beauty in the isolation that envelops these two people as they wait out the nighttime hours, which Mutch compares to the isolation of polar explorer Admiral Richard Byrd. His story, interwoven here, brings insight into the profound experience of physical isolation, and creates a shared language for the experience of feeling alone. Through these three main characters—mother, son, adventuring explorer—Mutch triangulates overlapping and layered themes of solitude that enlighten and uplift one another.