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Lessons and Carols
A Meditation on Recovery
HARDCOVER; Coming Soon: 5/2/2023
ISBN: 978-0-8028-8249-3
Price: $ 25.00
208 Pages
Trim Size, in inches: 5.5 x 8.5
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Maybe redemption is not a place you find, but a system of mapmaking. Sketch a land. Pencil in dragons. Imagine it real, resplendent, and broken under a waxing moon.

Lessons and Carols is a genre-bending memoir that explores the aftershocks of alcoholism and mental illness through a fresh look at the powers of poetry, ritual, and community. As a new parent, West grapples with his own fragmented recovery and grief for the friends he lost to addiction, asking if anyone can really change, or if we are always bound to repeat the past.

Echoing the form of a traditional Anglican Christmas service of stories and songs, West’s lyrical prose invites readers into an unorthodox rendition of the liturgy called Lessons and Carols. Each December, a faithful circle of irreligious friends assembles to eat and sing and re-imagine an old story about love made flesh. In that gathering’s glow, resentments turn to quiet wonder at the ways a better world can appear.

Both tender and bracing, West’s poetic meditation of the possibilities of change will resonate deeply with anyone who has tired of their own destructive loops. In this stirring account of recovery, redemption remains elusive—and also a promise as tangible as a newborn.

Hardscrabble winter, gray and lonely, requires Christmas. Or, rather, in its depths, I require Christmas: words no longer cold, chrome, and barren, but alive, golden, cradled in my arms.