Anna: A Daughter's Life

A New York Times Notable Book

“Stunningly clear-eyed and lyrical…the economy and beauty of his words give this book a kind of illuminating grace…We are each the only one of our kind.  William Loizeaux makes this case for his family and the rest of us with remarkable eloquence, passion, and honesty.”

   —Reeve Lindbergh, Washington Post Book World

“Powerful…This is honest writing…that allows for humor, and that tracks the process of becoming a parent and the process of bereavement with extraordinary precision.”

   —Helen Epstein, New York Times Book Review.

About the Book

Born with a number of birth defects known as VATER Syndrome, Anna Loizeaux’s chances for survival were uncertain. Each day was a gift and each moment was precious. Much of her brief life was spent in hospital nurseries and operating rooms, where medical technology and human intervention mustered all their resources to give her the chance for life that nature had not. In the end, they couldn’t.

Anna lived only a few precious, wonderful months, and when she died she shattered the lives of her parents. Where is the design to the death of a child? What is left to hold on to? William Loizeaux began to write a journal. Begun out of the agony of grief and the determination to forget nothing, Anna: A Daughter's Life becomes an affirmation: there is no life without a marker.  In the terrible beauty and uncompromising honesty of her father's prose, Anna has her marker. This stunningly beautiful record of a father’s grief begun out of isolation and helpless rage, becomes an act of celebration. In it, he finds, and offers to us, the courage and spirit that asked so much from so brief a life. Here is an unforgettable portrait of an unforgettable child that reaches out to us all.

More Praise for Anna: A Daughter's Life

“The book that Anna’s father, William, began as a very private effort to come to grips with his grief flowers into a document of public and universal meaning…The sharp imagery, the motifs, the writer’s voice…all combine for riveting reading.” 

   —Judy Fowler, The Baltimore Sun

“Written with luminous clarity and heartbreaking candor, this journal is an exorcism of grief, an outpouring of a father’s fiercely tender love.” 

   —Publisher’s Weekly (starred review)

“It is a heartbreaking story, but the author’s skill and eloquence make it unforgettable.  Very highly recommended.”

   —Library Journal  (starred review)

“On behalf of his daughter, Loizeaux shares his sorrow with heartbreaking honesty.”

   —Kirkus (pointer review)

“Anna is a wonderful book, honest, wise, and full of love.  There is comfort in these pages even as they haunt.”

   —John Hubbard, The Oneida Dispatch

Inspiration, a word that has lost its usefulness, regains it in this book.”

   —Frederick Busch

“Here intelligence grows into wisdom, precision matures into poetry, and courage takes on the stature of a heroic act of witnessing in the face of incalculable pain.”

   —Joyce Reiser Kornblatt

“What kind of knowledge can come from such a loss, what kind of resolution can such a true story have?  The author, who couldn’t have given us the answers to such questions as he began his entries, does provide us at the end with answers as satisfactory as the act of living can provide, ones that, being devoid of sentimentality, are genuine, and reach out to include us.  This is secular autobiography, but it reminds me at times of certain passages I cherish in St. Augustine’s Confessions, as well as others in James Agee’s Let Us Now Praise Famous Men and A Death in the Family.

   —James McConkey