Vessels: A Love Story

By Daniel Raeburn


Every once in a while you come upon a memoirist who writes so beautifully that you want to go out and get your hands on everything they have written. Daniel Raeburn is one of these incredibly gifted writers. His memoir is based on his highly acclaimed New Yorker essay, Vessels: A Love Story.

It tells the story of not just ”finding the one,” but holding onto that newfound love when tragedy hits.  Shortly after finding each other, Raeburn’s girlfriend discovers she is pregnant. When her first pregnancy ends in a miscarriage, they both mourn the loss of what could have been, but even in the midst of their pain they discover they have matured as human beings and as a couple.

The memoir is a response to a very important question: how do we keep grief from eating us alive? Vessels is also a love story, as the title suggests. It explores the notion of marriage and what makes a family.

Like Klebold, Raeburn writes intensely of love, loss and anguish. I fell in love with Raeburn’s writing style on the first page. When I was only seven pages in I knew things about Raeburn’s childhood that would have taken other memoirists ages to convey.

When it comes to communicating, sometimes less is more. And this is what is so seductive about Raeburn’s writing: his short sentences. Like picking the most beautiful flowers in a large field of them, Raeburn chooses his words carefully and thoughtfully. Smart, spare and elegant. He then turns these little morsels of simple nouns, verbs and adjectives into bouquets of prose. I am looking forward to reading more. So, get to writing Raeburn because you just gained another enthusiastic fan.

2 Responses


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    What an amazing and brave post. Your pain came through loud and clear. It must feel horrible to watch your child hurt himself, all in the name of trying to communicate. But I love that there is LIGHT ahead—-the talkers are helping, and you have a measurable amount of how much less he is hurting himself! I look forward to an update post in a few months time…I'll bet it will have dramatically decreased even more!