Three evenings a week the North End Grievers’ Group meets in Tacoma, Washington, at the home of its therapist, a woman with her own bizarre life story. The group has six members who mourn their losses in vastly different ways: one is suicidal and terribly difficult to like; another joined the group under suspicious circumstances, while yet a third serves up stories of a lifelong series of love affairs. One has won a lot of money in Las Vegas while trying to loosen the grip of grief’s talons, one drives around town in her dead husband’s brand-new Porsche; and the last caused the death of a loved one – personally delivering it from the barrel of a gun.
Loss, regret, guilt, damage, heartbreak, and despair are the emotions that simmer in each of their bereavements. Yet, at times, everything seems comic – probably because tragedy and comedy are so intertwined that tears can turn into laughter or laughter into tears in the blink of an eye.
The Grievers’ Group lets you peer beneath the surface of these people to see how they handle grief, a part of life that everyone must confront at some point.
Richard Wiley won the PEN/Faulkner Award and the Washington State Governor’s Writers Award for Soldiers in Hiding and the Maria Thomas Fiction Award for Ahmed’s Revenge. He is also the recipient of the Silver Pen Award from the State of Nevada. He is the author of nine novels and a collection of short stories. Richard was a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and is Professor Emeritus of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He now lives in Los Angeles, California.