Big Books & Bold Ideas with Kerri Miller

Alexandra Fuller on ‘the braid, the spiral, the knot of grief’

side by side of a woman and a book
When Alexandra Fuller's son died in his sleep at age 21, she faced every parent's worst nightmare. She writes her way through blistering grief in "Fi: A Memoir of My Son."
Photo courtesy of Alexandra Fuller, book cover courtesy of Grove Atlantic

Alexandra Fuller’s new memoir begins with the death of her 21-year-old son, Fi, and chronicles her attempts to grieve well in the searing aftermath of his loss.

Among other things, that meant acknowledging her kinship with others who had gone before her.

In her gorgeous new book, “Fi: A Memoir of My Son,” she writes: “The way a pilot sees wind and clouds, or a sailor reads currents and water, I look unconsciously for stories to remind me where I am, to remind me that, whatever I’m going through, millions have been here before, are here now, will be here again.”

She talks about finding solace in that continuity on this week’s Big Books and Bold Ideas. As she tells host Kerri Miller: “As I was running to my son’s body … I knew that I would be ‘over the grief’ when I was able to find gratitude for the grief. I knew I would find out the quality of my God, for real. And I knew I had joined the vast throng of women who had raised me on the Southern African continent who had been here before.”

Don’t miss this thoughtful, tender and vulnerable conversation about non-linear grief — grief that is “a braid and a spiral and a knot.”


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