certain and impossible events


CERTAIN AND IMPOSSIBLE EVENTS opens with the suicide of a fourteen-year-old boy in an unremarkable New England town. He left behind no trail of warning signs and no suicide note, only a series of rumors that connected his actions to the suicide of Kurt Cobain, whose death had become international front-page news a week earlier. Drawn to the hazy circumstances of her classmate’s death, Candace Jane Opper embarks on a decades-long interrogation into the cultural lineage of suicide in America, the complexities of unresolved grief, and the resilience of her own obsession. Fusing memoir with history and science, she gradually reveals the shape of suicide as it is handed down to us—from literature to YouTube, from middle school health class to sociological study, from the immutability of objects to the fluidity of oral history. Opper’s work illuminates the often-untold story of suicide’s astonishing scope and its unpredictable infectiousness. The result is a candid portrait of our disquieting relationship with those who leave prematurely from whatever coordinates in which we’d prefer them to remain.

Forthcoming 2020, Kore Press