When Jane Munro’s husband is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, the Griffin-award-winning poet must chart a path through the depths of grief, learning to live with loss and to take solace and find freedom in the restorative powers of writing.
Open Every Window is a genre-bending prose account of the unravelling of a life—two lives—when Jane Munro’s husband, Bob, is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Evoking Joan Didion’s The Year of Magical Thinking, this memoir charts a path through sorrow—the pain of seeing a partner age and approach death, the exhaustion of caretaking, and the regret in seeing life’s scope narrow and diminish.
Writing with courage and love, Munro grapples with what it means to care for a husband who is gradually but devastatingly deteriorating while her own identity is eclipsed by a single word—caregiver. Even a doctor admonishes, “What job could be more important than caring for your husband?”
In this portrait of the myriad lives contained in a single life, Munro ultimately finds respite in the power of writing, Iyengar yoga and in the rhythms of the moon—not to heal but to face grief without breaking.
A poignant evocation for anyone who has experienced loss, Open Every Window reveals the pain and power inherent in loving and being loved. Framed with short observations of the moon—from a New Moon in Pune, India to the following New Moon in Vancouver, Canada—this memoir will entrance with its lyricism and comfort with the writer’s hard-won warmth and wisdom.
"I read Jane Munro’s beautifully written memoir, Open Every Window, with the mixture of pleasure and sadness that comes with recognition of what it means to forge a life that diverges from expectations. A husband’s dementia, a tragic fire, the intricacies of family on the stunning west coast of Canada, a different life in India: the pieces moved and altered relationship as I read. They are shifting still, like pieces of glass falling through the shade and sunlight of ocean water. There is something heartbreakingly sane about Munro’s perspective: it remains with me and refuses to settle."
“...heartbreakingly beautiful read …illuminatingly honest…Munro's words were poignantly honest and offer a wonderful perspective on grief, loss and dying. If you enjoyed Through the Garden, or The Year Of Magical Thinking you might enjoy this one too.”
"Open Every Window is a window into a full life lived, with the many choices and challenges, sorrow and circumstance, that years bring. Warm, lyrical, and candid, Jane Munro shows us how to somehow stay open hearted, even when your heart is gripped by grief."
"Open Every Window is a story of life lived expansively, a story of seeking, and the fine threads that hold life together, whether children or yoga, love letters, giving care, or the cycles of the moon. Munro’s strongest thread—the question of ‘What is it to be a good woman?’—is the resonant touchstone in these pages."
"Jane Munro's memoir is a jewel: spare, bright, and sharp, effortlessly elegant, and illuminated by love’s many facets."
"Munro’s lyric prose is lit from within. A remarkable memoir, both fresh and graceful."
"With characteristic clarity, honesty, and restraint, Jane Munro unveils the extraordinary devotion of women to parents, children, husbands, families, to everyone but themselves. Open Every Window reminds me of Alice Munro’s Lives of Girls and Women as it charts the socialization of girls over a lifetime. When does one yield to expectations? When must one resist? Never a word wasted, never an extraneous detail, Munro reveals the conundrums, self-denial, the invisible labour of women in all their roles. She writes with insider knowledge of the conflicts women face as they try to preserve a life of their own. The lingering beauty of Open Every Window is the revelation that a single life can hold so much more than one life."