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Introducing “Hope Heals”

Machias Bay, Maine. Photo by Denise Brack

Machias Bay, Maine. Photo by Denise Brack

I’d like to share an update on my forthcoming narrative nonfiction book, which I’m naming Hope Heals.

It is about people who find a new purpose after unspeakable loss–and how they go about it. My goal is to help lift up others going through tough stuff as they find compelling responses to loss and other trauma in these stories.

I expect the book to be published next spring, and look forward to letting you know. Thanks for your interest and support! Here is an “inside-the-jacket” description:

I needed to weave their stories together in order to make some meaning of my own.

In the predawn hours of November 15, 2002, every parent’s worst nightmare strikes journalist and soon-to-be teacher Ken Brack, who along with his wife learns that their son has died in a car crash. Trying to make sense of the unspeakable, he sets out to find how people rebuild their lives after catastrophic loss, chronicling the stories of families who heal by finding a new purpose. Meeting moms and siblings, couples, students and entrepreneurs from across the country, Brack gathers the wrenching and ultimately uplifting stories of people who step beyond themselves, often as they confront the very forces that tore apart their lives.

Driven by an arresting emotional intimacy that is anchored in the author’s narrative voice, Hope Heals offers fresh light on what comes next after horrific ordeals. Among the families Brack follows are two parents whose response to tragedy break the silence about sexual assaults on college campuses and confront a national disgrace. Other complete accounts are also gathered for the first time, including those of a volunteer firefighter’s brother and friends inspired by his unselfishness to create a day of service and remembrance honoring 9/11 victims. Three brothers from Poland who survive the Holocaust take disparate paths to confront their trauma decades later, becoming witnesses to remind the world as they find a mashed-up space to reconcile the past. Moving through such trials, many of these people rediscover gifts their loved ones left while discovering a sacred duty. Together they offer hope to others searching for answers.

Threading a grieving father’s questions into a quilt of universal voices with a hybrid of narrative, reportorial, and creative nonfiction, Brack examines the arc of growth that is possible following traumatic experiences. The book speaks directly to readers facing loss and to a broader audience compelled by stories of compassion, resilience, and our potential to heal. The author and his wife face occasional fractures as he grapples with the cause of his son’s death while she reaches out to support other bereaved parents. Six years later, in 2008 they opened a nonprofit center offering support groups, counseling, and wellness programs that became a leading resource to families in Massachusetts.

Click here in “Read a Bit – Excerpts” to see an annotated table of contents of its sections. Take care.


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