Hannah, James. The A to Z of You and Me. Sourcebooks, 2016. ISBN 978-1492633167 336 pp. $15.99
The marketing representative for promised us at Book Buzz Boston that this book would make us ugly-cry, and author James Hannah delivered.
Ivo, in hospice with kidney failure, should be in the prime of his (mid)life; instead, he is contemplating the choices he’s made that brought him to this point by playing a game devised by his favorite caregiver: find a memory for each body part, in alphabetical order. From Adam’s apple on, the narrative weaves between past and present as the aloof Ivo comes to terms with his life and it’s inevitable end.
The writing is lovely and the theme hard to deal with, but there are light-filled moments. Much of the story is taken up with Ivo’s ex, Mia; their relationship is mysterious and disclosed a small detail at a time.
As Ivo’s illness progresses, the narrative becomes a little more surreal due to the effects of morphine. Truly masterful. Guaranteed to make you weep.