One of the formative events in author Michael Corrigan's life happened in 2005: His wife Karen died suddenly from a brain aneurysm. Already a respected and published writer, Corrigan was ultimately inspired by the tragedy to write two more books.
With a master's degree in English from San Francisco State University, Corrigan went on to attend the American Film Institute and is currently a professor at Idaho State University.
To help come to terms with his enormous sense of loss, Corrigan penned A Year and a Day, a nonfiction series of journal entries that account for the year following his wife's death. Piggybacking on this heartfelt biopic delivery, Corrigan most recently presented These Precious Hours.
Corrigan's sixth book takes a fictional look at love, longing and grief. By interweaving story lines, Corrigan depicts various scenarios that all deal with a loss of some kind. Whether it's familial or romantic, the loss of someone is ultimately universal and can alter the path of life to varying degrees.
Corrigan begins the novel with a quote from Civil War-era poet Henry Timrod, which eventually became lyrics in Bob Dylan's song "When the Deal Goes Down":
"More frailer than the flowers / These precious hours / That keep us so tightly bound."
This simple stanza conveys many metaphorical associations with the delicate and powerful nature of love. Corrigan sets the stage with these simple, profound words for his subsequent stories.
What is perceived at first to be a collection of short stories are seven vignettes that evolve into an intertwined, cohesive tale, taking the reader from a widower's view of a revisited Ireland in the first chapter, "These Seven Hours," to a beautifully crafted unrequited love in "The Wife and the Monk."
The eventual death of a beloved mother with cancer makes the wedding scenes in "Paraguay Wedding" realistically bittersweet and also intuitively reflective of the painstaking sentiments experienced by the affected family.
Although at times Corrigan tries to contribute too many ideas at once, which disrupts the narrative's continuity, he eventually returns to what comes more naturally: scene setting and pointed dialogue, both of which help to round out the multi-dimensional characters and forward driving story lines.
These Precious Hours tackles the topics of love, loss and recovery, allowing Corrigan to reiterate his consistency as a storyteller. His firsthand experience with life's immense challenges showcases his credibility and talent.