August 26, 2010
Writer Caroline Knapp was 42 when she died, seven weeks after being diagnosed with lung cancer in 2002.
She's best known for Drinking: A Love Story, her 1996 memoir about life as a "high-functioning alcoholic." But she also wrote Pack of Two (1998) on why people, including herself, are so attached to their dogs.
And it was dogs — not books — that connected Knapp with book critic Gail Caldwell, who won a Pulitzer Prize in 2001 for her reviews at The Boston Globe.
Theirs is "an old, old story: I had a friend and we shared everything, and then she died and so we shared that, too," Caldwell writes in the opening sentence of Let's Take the Long Way Home, a heartbreaker of a memoir.
If grief can ever be graceful, then Caldwell gracefully weaves a thread of stories that describe and ponder friendship and loss.