A Memoir in Shards
“A celebration of life unbowed by suffering.” —KIRKUS
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Brain surgery. Assault weapons in the bed of a pickup truck. Sophia Loren at the Oscars. Rilke, Rodin, and the craters of the moon. Recovery and disintegration. Monkeys stealing an egg outside a temple in Kathmandu. Brushing teeth bloody on long car rides under blue skies. Pain, ours and what we bring to others. Wildfires in southern California. Rats in Texas. Childhood abuse. Dreams of tigers and blackout nights. The sweetness of mangoes. A son born into a shadowy hospital room. Love. Joy.

In Feverland, Alex Lemon has created a fragmented exploration of what it means to be a man in the tumult of twenty-first-century America—and a harrowing, associative memoir about how we live with the beauties and horrors of our pasts. How to move forward, Lemon asks, when trapped between the demons of one’s history and the angels of one’s better nature? How to live in kindness—to become a caring partner and parent—when one can muster very little such tenderness for oneself? How to be here, now? How to be here, good?

Immersed in darkness but shot through with light, Feverland is a thrillingly experimental memoir from one of our most heartfelt and inventive writers.

Publish Date
5.5 × 8.5 × 0.8 in
14.5 oz

Alex Lemon

Alex Lemon is a poet and the author of two works of nonfiction: Happy, selected by Kirkus as one of the best memoirs of 2010, and Feverland: A Memoir in Shards. His collections of poems include Mosquito, Hallelujah Blackout, Fancy Beasts, The Wish Book, and Another Last Day. He teaches in the low-residency MFA program at Ashland University and is Associate Professor at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, where he lives.

Praise and Prizes

  • “Alex Lemon’s Feverland uses an unconventional structure to tell the story of its author’s life to powerful effect… . Lemon’s memoir is moving, unpredictable and sometimes digressive—in that, too, it’s a lot like life itself.”

    Minneapolis Star Tribune
  • “Lemon’s bold decision to eschew narrative allows him to portray a sense of life as he lived it, with the blending of memory, sensory immediacy, and hopes and fears in a waking nightmare. In taut, vibrant prose, he pieces together the fragments of his life … His sparkling language and repeated motifs provide unity, and there is profound insight—even humor—in this tale from the dark side.”

    Publishers Weekly
    *starred review*
  • “Fevered prose and wild digressions mark a poet’s candid memoir of pain and illness … Lemon’s collision of ideas and images adds up to a celebration of a life unbowed by suffering.”

  • “What a marvel of a book. In its rigor, variance, and sonic playfulness, Feverland makes a winning argument for the case that a life—in all its trial, tenderness, and physical troubling—is best presented in shards, as the title indicates. Why? Because these vivid and surprising shards that Alex Lemon gives us teem with heft and life, evocative diction and sticking image, narrative brilliance and lyric mystery.”

    Elena Passarello
    author of Animals Strike Curious Poses
  • Feverland is a life turned on its head and dissected so that each ugly thing, each shiny bobble, each meanness, each fury of need, each ache, each bloom of love is laid bare for us. Alex Lemon has offered us an essential long stare into the bleak yet textured truth of illness, abuse, and disability; at the same time he offers us the one thing we all cling to despite it all: beauty and survival. Lemon’s intense and stratified essays lean in and tell us the hardest thing we’ve ever heard, then embrace us so tightly we think we might burst from the sheer joy of being alive.”

    Ada Limón
    author of Bright Dead Things
  • “Alex Lemon doesn’t write sentences—he writes songs. And when you’re not marveling at the jazzy vocals, nodding along to the swing beat, applauding for the slant rhymes and digressive riffs, you’ll be genuinely moved and shattered by these poetic fragments of a life that add up to a beautiful mosaic.”

    Benjamin Percy
    author of Red Moon
  • “I didn’t read Feverland—I plunged into it. Alex Lemon’s mind comes at you in a hot, mad rush, and you experience him as you experience your own past, all at once. A good memoir leaves you feeling that you know another person. This one, somehow, leaves you feeling that you know yourself as well.”

    J.C. Hallman
    author of B Me: A True Story of Literary Arousal