The End of Her: Racing Against Alzheimer’s to Solve a Murder by Wayne Hoffman

Hoffman pens a compelling story that takes different paths within the story. A murder mystery. The love of family. A Jewish diaspora. We learn early in the novel of the pain he experiences witnessing his mother’s decline with Alzheimer’s.  He is not afraid of bearing his feeling in his words. Hoffman shares the early years and the delight of listening to his mother’s stories, even though he’s heard them many times, the enchantment in her audiences and how she makes them laugh, keeping them entertained with her words.

The author reveals a disturbing occurrence in his mother’s ancestors, namely Sarah who was murdered in the night while sleeping with a small child nestled close by. A crime, a century old, which was never solved. The story passed down through the years makes no sense, yet it’s the story his mother clings to. He takes it upon himself to find the answers. Wanting to gift his mother with the truth before her decline worsens.

Through his searching for clues, we learn of the Jewish immigration of his ancestors to Canada’s western provinces, particularly Manitoba and Saskatchewan. The reader discovers the background of his relatives, their relationships, the hard times of settling in a new country in the early twentieth century.

The one thing about this book that puzzled me was the prologue. It is totally irrelevant to the story and unnecessary. In fact, it diluted my earlier anticipation of reading the story. Otherwise, The End of Her is full of interesting personalities, thorough research, familial love and a satisfactory assumption of what really happened to Hoffman’s great grandmother.

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Wayne Hoffman’s cultural reporting has appeared in the Wall Street JournalWashington PostThe ForwardVillage VoiceThe NationBillboard, Slate, and dozens of other publications; he is currently executive editor of Tablet magazine. His novels include HardAn Older Man, and Sweet Like Sugar—winner of the American Library Association’s Stonewall Book Award. He lives in New York City and the Catskills

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Heliotrope Books LLC (Feb. 15 2022)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 304 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1942762895
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1942762898

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Janet Sanford
Janet Sanford
March 7, 2022 19:50

Sounds like an intriguing story.