In the opening of Holding Silvan ($16.95), Monica Wesolowska gives birth to her first child, a healthy-seeming boy who is taken from her arms for "observation" when he won't stop crying. Within days, Monica and her husband have been given the grimmest of prognoses for Silvan. They must make a choice about his life. The story that follows is not of typical maternal heroism. There is no medical miracle here. Instead, we find the strangest of hopes. In clear and unflinching prose, this startling memoir bears witness not only to a son's brief life but to the evolution of the writer herself - from Catholic girl yearning after sainthood to maternal struggle to give her son the best she can. The result is a page-turning testimony to the power of love. By raising ethical questions about how a death can be good in the age of modern medicine, Wesolowska's memoir becomes a paean to what makes life itself good.
Monica Wesolowska has published both fiction and memoir in numerous literary journals and anthologies including Best New American Voices 2000, the Carolina Quarterly, Quarter After Eight, Literary Mama, and the New York Times bestseller My Little Red Book. A graduate of Reed College and a recipient of a fellowship from the Fine Arts Works Center in Provincetown, she has taught writing at UC Berkeley Extension for a decade. She lives with her family in Berkeley, California.