by Darin Strauss, author of Half a Life(Random House, 2011), Winner of the 2011 National Book Critics Circle Award (Autobiography)
When I was 18, I was in a car accident: a girl swerved in front of my car, I couldn’t avoid her, and she died. I moved soon afterward, and so this crash and its aftermath made up the secret I carried around for 18 years. Until I wrote HALF A LIFE.
40,000 die on US roads every year. And with every accident, somebody walks away feeling he’s put on the executioner’s hood. That’s one reason HALF A LIFE has resonated with so many people. But it’s not the only reason, I’ve come to realize.
When I decided to write this story—the story of me and of the girl who died that day—I don’t think I understood how universal other people would find it; I was just writing what had happened to me. But very soon, I realized this story threw huge shadows. Continue reading