The Globe’s piece is not a book review per se; rather, it tells the story of Wickersham’s journey as she attempts to write about her father’s death by suicide:
In 1995 she began to write about her father’s death … She wrote a straightforward chronicle, then began a novel … In 2004 she went to … [a] writer’s retreat, and ended up abandoning the novel.
“Something about being there [at the retreat], having that time and privacy, made me start over,” she said, “and go about it in a more truthful, urgent, memoir-like way.”
The result of her renewed efforts is The Suicide Index, which Wickersham’s editor describes as “a form to go with her content.”
An index is a tool for searching … said Ann Patty … at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. “It’s spare, rigorous, unsentimental.”
Wickersham explained: “My father, who was a familiar, loved figure, suddenly became a mystery … I wrestled with that for years, trying to restore him, to make him a complete person again, come up with a picture that is big enough to encompass all the contradictions.”