Rosamond Lehmann’s only autobiographical work recreates the events that shaped her life—from childhood to motherhood to the death of her daughter
Rosamond Lehmann was born during a violent February thunderstorm and lived a sheltered, privileged life with her parents, brother, and sisters. Writing from the distance of decades, she reveals why no adult would ever apologize to a child, shares thoughts on her “first conscious memory,” and discusses the taboo subjects of “birth, death, physical and sexual functions.” Later, she recounts the tragedy that rocked her world as a mother. A blackbird with a broken neck appears as a harbinger of doom: A few hours after finding the bird, Lehmann receives a phone call from her son telling her that her twenty-four-year-old daughter, Sally, is dead. Wracked with grief and desperate for answers, Lehmann, a non-believer, finds solace in spiritualism.
Beginning with an examination of Lehmann’s singular childhood featuring cherished friends and pets, and concluding with an extraordinary letter to her granddaughter Anna, TheSwan in the Evening is about the search for peace and acceptance—and finding hope in the face of unbearable loss.