“For we think back through our mothers if we are women,” declared Virginia Woolf. In the same way, men imagine their lives under the influence of their fathers. While in his twenties, James Chesbro lost his own father, from whom he had been estranged, and with whom he had only recently, and incompletely, reconciled. This loss came just as Chesbro was becoming a father himself, first of one, then of two, and eventually of three young children. These candid, lucid essays tell the story of how he coped with the taxing responsibilities of marriage and family, and how, in the absence of a living father, he reconstructed from fragments a model of manhood.
SCOTT RUSSELL SANDERS
author of Earth Works: New & Selected Essays
About the Book
When his wife was pregnant, James M. Chesbro started having daydreams of seeing a lion in his street, padding toward his house through the snowflakes of a New England storm. He felt more like a son, still grieving over the early loss of his own father, rather than a prepared expectant-dad. In these essays, Chesbro finds himself disoriented and bewildered by fatherhood again and again as he explores the maddening moments that provide occasions for new understandings about our children and us.
In James M. Chesbro’s stirring debut, A Lion the Snow, we find a contemporary father’s field guide, a husband’s compendium, and a wife’s glimpse into the turning mind of a spouse in the grounded prose of domestic conflict.
Chesbro’s work has appeared in The Writer’s Chronicle, America, The Washington Post, Essay Daily, The Millions, Huff Post, and Literary Hub. Essays from A Lion in the Snow were chosen as notable selections in The Best American Essays series 2012, 2014, 2015, 2017, and 2018, as well as The Best American Sports Writing 2014.