“Exquisitely written.” —Claire Messud, Harper’s Magazine
A Publishers Weekly Best Nonfiction 2022 Summer Read
By turns devastating and soaring, an ambitious memoir debut from one of Irish literature’s rising stars
When Seán Hewitt meets Elias, the two fall headlong into a love story. But as Elias struggles with severe mental illness, they soon come face-to-face with crisis.
All Down Darkness Wide is a perceptive and unflinching meditation on the burden of living in a world that too often sets happiness and queer life at odds, and a tender and honest portrayal of what it’s like to be caught in the undertow of a loved one’s deep depression. As lives are made and unmade, this memoir asks what love can endure and what it cannot.
Delving into his own history, enlisting the ghosts of queer figures before him, Hewitt plumbs the darkness in search of answers. From a nineteenth-century cemetery in Liverpool to a sacred grotto in the Pyrenees, it is a journey of lonely discovery followed by the light of community. Haunted by the rites of Catholicism and spectres of shame, it is nevertheless marked by an insistent search for beauty.
Hewitt captures transcendent moments in nature with exquisite lyricism, honours the power of reciprocated desire and provides a master class in the incredible force of unsparing specificity. All Down Darkness Wide illuminates a path ahead for queer literature and for the literature of heartbreak, striking a piercing and resonant chord for all who trace Hewitt’s dauntless footsteps.