Author-illustrator Elisha Cooper and I started chatting about his new memoir, Falling, back in May when he was at the Sendak farm as a 2016 Sendak Fellow (hence the mug above), and I’m just now posting our conversation. (The Danielsons are moving to a new home this summer, so I take all the blame for the slow pace of this chat, though since I always enjoy talking with him, let’s just say I did it on purpose.)
Falling (published by Pantheon in June) is sub-titled A Daughter, a Father, and a Journey Back, and it tells the story of discovering a lump under his five-year-old daughter’s ribs and her subsequent diagnosis of cancer. With tenderness, wit, and precision, he writes about the changes in life brought about by the pediatric cancer, outlining his daughter’s treatment and even post-treatment, and the hopelessness he felt as a parent. But, as you can see in our chat below, the book is also infused with a spirit of hope (and, fortunately, his daughter is also now cancer-free). As the Publishers Weekly review notes, it’s a memoir that is poignant but never melodramatic.
Let’s get to it. Finally. I thank Elisha for taking the time to chat. (Bonus: There’s some art below.)