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How to Lose Everything : A Memoir

How to Lose Everything: A Memoir

Christa Couture
$26.95 Regular price

 


Christa Couture has come to know every corner of grief—its shifting blurry edges, its traps, its pulse of love at the centre and the bittersweet truth that sorrow is a powerful and wise emotion.

From the amputation of her leg as a cure for bone cancer at a young age to her first child’s single day of life, the heart transplant and subsequent death of her second child, the divorce born of grief and then the thyroidectomy that threatened her career as a professional musician, How to Lose Everything delves into the heart of loss. Couture bears witness to the shift in perspective that comes with loss, and how it can deepen compassion for others, expand understanding, inspire a letting go of little things and plant a deeper feeling for what matters. At the same time, Couture's writing evokes the joy and lightness that both precede and eventually follow grief, as well as the hope and resilience that grow from connections with others.

Evoking Joan Didion’s The Year of Magical Thinking and Rachel Cusk’s A Life’s Work, Couture explores the emotional and psychological experiences of motherhood, partnership and change. Deftly connecting the dots of sorrow, reprieve and hard-won hope, How to Lose Everything contains the advice Couture is often asked for, as well as the words she wishes she could have heard many years ago. It is also an offering of kinship and understanding for anyone experiencing a loss.


 

How to Lose Everything is the most staggering account of loss since the Book of Job. And, like Job, Christa Couture has refused to lose faith. This is a powerful memoir of unimaginable suffering and unconquerable spirit.”

–Wayne Grady, author of Up from Freedom

“Christa Couture knows better than most how fragile are our bodies, our aspirations, our human arrangements; how resistant they are to protection, how prone they are to rupture. A prolonged cry of anguish would be a reasonable response from someone who has endured her devastating losses; but How to Lose Everything is a thoughtful, spirited, even-handed, good-humoured, and unflinchingly honest anatomy of grief, forbearance, hope, and healing. Expect the miraculous, because here you will find it. Expect the gorgeous, because Christa Couture writes exactly as she sings: with heart, and beautifully.”

–Bill Richardson, author of I Saw Three Ships: West End Stories

“It is not possible to reach this kind of poetic and beautiful telling of such a heartbreaking personal history without years of profound reflection and living with grief. How does a person survive such staggering losses?… It is a huge relief to set down the burden of needing to be strong and get through everything. This is the timely and compassionate story that we all need to hear.”

–Leela Gilday, singer and songwriter

“As someone who also had cancer as a teenager, as well as being a new mother myself, reading this book felt like a heartfelt conversation with a friend. Christa Couture has experienced so much loss, but doesn’t define herself by that: she is a woman in constant transformation, and writes about herself and her experiences with profound love and an astonishing acceptance.”

–Harriet Alida Lye, author of The Honey Farm and Natural Killer

“Reading Christa’s story...listening to Christa’s words...hearing Christa play piano...they are all important voices in this land bookended by salt water. I can’t say enough good things or write enough kind words to say how wonderful and essential they are.”

–Jim Bryson, singer and songwriter

“How do you lose everything? Christa Couture knows and she’s here to lovingly and ever-so-gently let you in on her hard-won wisdom. She’ll break your heart and put it back together anew: feeling the scars, hearing the echoes, and patiently waiting for the subtle openings of heart-bursting light. Listen closely, because she’ll teach you how to walk again.”

–Carys Cragg, author of Dead Reckoning

“Christa’s voice and the things that make her remarkable are so tangible in her narrative: it is bravely open, it is generous when retelling of great sadness, it is candid and kind, with a sharp and quick humour that sneaks up on you in the most delightful way, at the right time.”

–Gabrielle Papillon, singer and songwriter

“In How to Lose Everything, Christa’s wry response to a friend on how to have a happy relationship is, ‘Avoid tragedy.’ None of us will avoid tragedy, but these stories are proof that…there are so many rewards to be gained by moving forward bravely.”

–Rae Spoon, musician and author of How To (Hide) Be(hind) Your Songs

“An astoundingly generous and compelling memoir. I could not put this book down, and I know I will return to these stories over and over again. How to Lose Everything is for anyone who has ever lost someone; for you, perhaps, who have come to know grief; for all of us who have had to learn how to walk again, after falling to the ground.”

–Smokii Sumac, author of You are Enough: Love Poems for the End of the World

“I didn’t expect to stay up until two a.m., reading this book in one take, but it felt too important to put down. I wanted to stay with Christa through all of it, holding space for her story and her grief. She has shared unflinchingly and with grace and I will be sharing this book with many clients and friends who’ve been through their own hard journeys.”

–Heather Plett, author of The Art of Holding Space

"If you've ever wondered how to lace together deep grief with hope, here is your manual. Couture manages to consistently inject humor throughout her walkabout as an artist and mother, with hilarious nicknames for central characters, including her own leg; Stump. Her humor is a testament to her skill as a storyteller and points to one of life's greatest missions—to find joy in sorrow. A MUST read for these trying times.”

–Kinnie Starr, singer and songwriter

“Christa has a way of putting things into words that cut not only to the truth of the matter but also to the spirit. She shares pain and beauty all mixed up together. Here in How to Lose Everything, with oodles of bravery and love, she invites us all the way in, and shares...everything.”

–Coco Love Alcorn, singer and songwriter

How to Lose Everything is a short book but every word confronts grief’s pain, terror, and desperation with love, tenderness, and heartbreak. The vivid imagery coupled with a songwriter’s lyricism act as a fluent and whimsical vessel through turbulent waters…”

–Caileigh Broatch, Quill and Quire

“Exceptionally well written, organized and presented, How To Lose Everything is an inherently absorbing read and one that author Christa Couture is to be commended for with respect to its unrelenting honesty, candor, openness and emotive descriptiveness. One of those life stories that will linger in the mind and memory long after the book itself has been finished and set back upon the shelf, How To Lose Everything is especially and unreservedly recommended for community library Contemporary American Biography collections.”

Midwest Book Review

“...elegantly written and deeply felt memoir...Clearly, the losses Couture recounts in this exemplary memoir have not defeated her. But do not turn to How to Lose Everything for a sentimentally inspiring tale of resilience and recovery. There is not a single sentence in this lapidary work of memory and survival that would be at home on a Hallmark card or in the saccharine annals of pop psychology. Instead, the reader gets deep psychological insight and a compassionate but never sentimental regard for all of us, the flawed human beings who jostle together in this world of loss. Highly recommended.”

–Tom Sandborn, Vancouver Sun

“...tender and compassionate...Couture knows, perhaps better than any of us, the stories that truly matter—the ones that force us into spaces that may be uncomfortable, but deepen our capacity for compassion, and our understanding of different perspectives.”

–Christina Vardanis, Best Health Magazine

“A beautiful, profound, and moving memoir...This memoir hits so hard. My emotions were a rollercoaster...nothing short of inspiring. This book will be a comfort to those living in the throes of grief. It will break you and put you back together again.”

–@BookALong

“Christa’s prose, it turns out, is much like her songwriting—marked by beautifully-rendered snapshots of grief in all of its forms...It’s hard to account for why Christa’s art, which derives from the depths of despair and hopelessness, is so fantastically undepressing to read or listen to...but I think it has something to do with how healthy her process feels. We are witnessing somebody who is a role model in coping, someone with immense insight into her own emotions, someone who is patient with the grief process, someone who has a veritable black belt in rolling with life’s punches. [How to Lose Everything] is a testament to the strength, resilience and incredible humanity of its author, who embodies those traits in a way few of us ever will.”

–Heather Kitching, Roots Music Canada

 


Douglas & McIntyre
ISBN: 9781771622622
Hardback
5.5 in x 8.5 in - 208 pp
Publication Date: 19/09/2020
BISAC Subject(s): BIO004000-BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY / Music,FAM014000-FAMILY & RELATIONSHIPS / Death, Grief, Bereavement,BIO022000-BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY / Women 

Description


Christa Couture has come to know every corner of grief—its shifting blurry edges, its traps, its pulse of love at the centre and the bittersweet truth that sorrow is a powerful and wise emotion.

From the amputation of her leg as a cure for bone cancer at a young age to her first child’s single day of life, the heart transplant and subsequent death of her second child, the divorce born of grief and then the thyroidectomy that threatened her career as a professional musician, How to Lose Everything delves into the heart of loss. Couture bears witness to the shift in perspective that comes with loss, and how it can deepen compassion for others, expand understanding, inspire a letting go of little things and plant a deeper feeling for what matters. At the same time, Couture's writing evokes the joy and lightness that both precede and eventually follow grief, as well as the hope and resilience that grow from connections with others.

Evoking Joan Didion’s The Year of Magical Thinking and Rachel Cusk’s A Life’s Work, Couture explores the emotional and psychological experiences of motherhood, partnership and change. Deftly connecting the dots of sorrow, reprieve and hard-won hope, How to Lose Everything contains the advice Couture is often asked for, as well as the words she wishes she could have heard many years ago. It is also an offering of kinship and understanding for anyone experiencing a loss.


 

How to Lose Everything is the most staggering account of loss since the Book of Job. And, like Job, Christa Couture has refused to lose faith. This is a powerful memoir of unimaginable suffering and unconquerable spirit.”

–Wayne Grady, author of Up from Freedom

“Christa Couture knows better than most how fragile are our bodies, our aspirations, our human arrangements; how resistant they are to protection, how prone they are to rupture. A prolonged cry of anguish would be a reasonable response from someone who has endured her devastating losses; but How to Lose Everything is a thoughtful, spirited, even-handed, good-humoured, and unflinchingly honest anatomy of grief, forbearance, hope, and healing. Expect the miraculous, because here you will find it. Expect the gorgeous, because Christa Couture writes exactly as she sings: with heart, and beautifully.”

–Bill Richardson, author of I Saw Three Ships: West End Stories

“It is not possible to reach this kind of poetic and beautiful telling of such a heartbreaking personal history without years of profound reflection and living with grief. How does a person survive such staggering losses?… It is a huge relief to set down the burden of needing to be strong and get through everything. This is the timely and compassionate story that we all need to hear.”

–Leela Gilday, singer and songwriter

“As someone who also had cancer as a teenager, as well as being a new mother myself, reading this book felt like a heartfelt conversation with a friend. Christa Couture has experienced so much loss, but doesn’t define herself by that: she is a woman in constant transformation, and writes about herself and her experiences with profound love and an astonishing acceptance.”

–Harriet Alida Lye, author of The Honey Farm and Natural Killer

“Reading Christa’s story...listening to Christa’s words...hearing Christa play piano...they are all important voices in this land bookended by salt water. I can’t say enough good things or write enough kind words to say how wonderful and essential they are.”

–Jim Bryson, singer and songwriter

“How do you lose everything? Christa Couture knows and she’s here to lovingly and ever-so-gently let you in on her hard-won wisdom. She’ll break your heart and put it back together anew: feeling the scars, hearing the echoes, and patiently waiting for the subtle openings of heart-bursting light. Listen closely, because she’ll teach you how to walk again.”

–Carys Cragg, author of Dead Reckoning

“Christa’s voice and the things that make her remarkable are so tangible in her narrative: it is bravely open, it is generous when retelling of great sadness, it is candid and kind, with a sharp and quick humour that sneaks up on you in the most delightful way, at the right time.”

–Gabrielle Papillon, singer and songwriter

“In How to Lose Everything, Christa’s wry response to a friend on how to have a happy relationship is, ‘Avoid tragedy.’ None of us will avoid tragedy, but these stories are proof that…there are so many rewards to be gained by moving forward bravely.”

–Rae Spoon, musician and author of How To (Hide) Be(hind) Your Songs

“An astoundingly generous and compelling memoir. I could not put this book down, and I know I will return to these stories over and over again. How to Lose Everything is for anyone who has ever lost someone; for you, perhaps, who have come to know grief; for all of us who have had to learn how to walk again, after falling to the ground.”

–Smokii Sumac, author of You are Enough: Love Poems for the End of the World

“I didn’t expect to stay up until two a.m., reading this book in one take, but it felt too important to put down. I wanted to stay with Christa through all of it, holding space for her story and her grief. She has shared unflinchingly and with grace and I will be sharing this book with many clients and friends who’ve been through their own hard journeys.”

–Heather Plett, author of The Art of Holding Space

"If you've ever wondered how to lace together deep grief with hope, here is your manual. Couture manages to consistently inject humor throughout her walkabout as an artist and mother, with hilarious nicknames for central characters, including her own leg; Stump. Her humor is a testament to her skill as a storyteller and points to one of life's greatest missions—to find joy in sorrow. A MUST read for these trying times.”

–Kinnie Starr, singer and songwriter

“Christa has a way of putting things into words that cut not only to the truth of the matter but also to the spirit. She shares pain and beauty all mixed up together. Here in How to Lose Everything, with oodles of bravery and love, she invites us all the way in, and shares...everything.”

–Coco Love Alcorn, singer and songwriter

How to Lose Everything is a short book but every word confronts grief’s pain, terror, and desperation with love, tenderness, and heartbreak. The vivid imagery coupled with a songwriter’s lyricism act as a fluent and whimsical vessel through turbulent waters…”

–Caileigh Broatch, Quill and Quire

“Exceptionally well written, organized and presented, How To Lose Everything is an inherently absorbing read and one that author Christa Couture is to be commended for with respect to its unrelenting honesty, candor, openness and emotive descriptiveness. One of those life stories that will linger in the mind and memory long after the book itself has been finished and set back upon the shelf, How To Lose Everything is especially and unreservedly recommended for community library Contemporary American Biography collections.”

Midwest Book Review

“...elegantly written and deeply felt memoir...Clearly, the losses Couture recounts in this exemplary memoir have not defeated her. But do not turn to How to Lose Everything for a sentimentally inspiring tale of resilience and recovery. There is not a single sentence in this lapidary work of memory and survival that would be at home on a Hallmark card or in the saccharine annals of pop psychology. Instead, the reader gets deep psychological insight and a compassionate but never sentimental regard for all of us, the flawed human beings who jostle together in this world of loss. Highly recommended.”

–Tom Sandborn, Vancouver Sun

“...tender and compassionate...Couture knows, perhaps better than any of us, the stories that truly matter—the ones that force us into spaces that may be uncomfortable, but deepen our capacity for compassion, and our understanding of different perspectives.”

–Christina Vardanis, Best Health Magazine

“A beautiful, profound, and moving memoir...This memoir hits so hard. My emotions were a rollercoaster...nothing short of inspiring. This book will be a comfort to those living in the throes of grief. It will break you and put you back together again.”

–@BookALong

“Christa’s prose, it turns out, is much like her songwriting—marked by beautifully-rendered snapshots of grief in all of its forms...It’s hard to account for why Christa’s art, which derives from the depths of despair and hopelessness, is so fantastically undepressing to read or listen to...but I think it has something to do with how healthy her process feels. We are witnessing somebody who is a role model in coping, someone with immense insight into her own emotions, someone who is patient with the grief process, someone who has a veritable black belt in rolling with life’s punches. [How to Lose Everything] is a testament to the strength, resilience and incredible humanity of its author, who embodies those traits in a way few of us ever will.”

–Heather Kitching, Roots Music Canada

 

Details


Douglas & McIntyre
ISBN: 9781771622622
Hardback
5.5 in x 8.5 in - 208 pp
Publication Date: 19/09/2020
BISAC Subject(s): BIO004000-BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY / Music,FAM014000-FAMILY & RELATIONSHIPS / Death, Grief, Bereavement,BIO022000-BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY / Women