Juliet Patterson was recovering from a serious car accident when she learned her father had died by suicide. His death was part of a disturbing pattern in her family. Her father's father had taken his own life; so had her mother's. Over the weeks and months that followed, grieving and in physical pain, Patterson kept returning to one question: Why? Why had her family lost so many men, so many fathers, and what lay beneath the silence that had taken hold? Patterson explores these questions within personal, familial, political, and environmental histories to provide not answers but essential, heartbreaking truth.
Bewilderment and edge-of-the-sinkhole grief is palpable in this memoir ... The book is best when Patterson is simply a sad and confused daughter ... Patterson's obsession is honest and well wrought ... Though the memoir doesn't solve the riddle of suicide or offer a neat narrative arc, it does show the value of remembering and the importance of paying attention.
Patterson’s poetic sensibility informs her prose as she weaves together ideas about family and research about land in a lyrical way. She’s looking for answers in Sinkhole, but the path that leads to a suicide isn’t linear. It’s more akin to a sinkhole, Patterson writes, spreading and consuming everything around it.
A spare, sensitive evocation of Patterson's experience of grief, paired with an insightful work of family and regional history ... The poet's sensibility is evident in these pages, as she excavates her own raw emotions alongside passages of clear-eyed journalism and creative nonfiction. Sinkhole is a painfully honest and sobering work that may provide insight and comfort to those facing a similar tragedy.