A Final Arc of Sky: A Memoir of Critical Care (Paperback)
A critical care and emergency flight nurse, Jennifer Culkin is no stranger to death and its dramas, and her memoir plunges the reader into both. Aboard the Agusta A109A helicopter, we see through her eyes as she is entrusted with the life of a teenager wrenched from the wreckage of a head-on collision. In the intensive-care nursery, we take each tenuous breath with an eleven-ounce preemie she struggles to ventilate. Tempering her profound insights about mortality with humor, Culkin explores the rich borderland that lies between person and profession as she cares for her dying mother, widowed father, and, eventually, as she adjusts to life with multiple sclerosis, herself.
About the Author
Jennifer Culkin, winner of a 2008 Rona Jaffe Foundation Award, is a writer and longtime neonatal, pediatric, and adult critical care nurse. A graduate of Russell Sage College and the Rainier Writing Workshop at Pacific Lutheran University, her work has appeared in many literary magazines and in "The Jack Straw Writers Anthology 2006."
In this compelling memoir, her moving reflections on life and death interweave clinical encounters with her own life. . . . Culkin sees herself and others clearly, and poetic juxtapositions make her sentences soar.—Publishers Weekly
"A marvelous writer, mixing tragedy and reflection with luminous prose . . . We are privileged to share her passion and heartbreak."—Marilyn Dahl, Shelf Talker
""With its perfect capture of the fragility of life and our vulnerable human bodies and bonds, A Final Arc of Sky . . . is a disturbing, powerful read."—Lynda V. Mapes, Seattle Times
"Rarely have we heard from such an eloquent yet urgent voice from the front lines of mortality. . . . Culkin writes with elegiac grace and unblinking honesty."—Robin Hemley, author of Invented Eden
"Absorbing . . . This former neonatal and pediatric intensive-care nurse has vivid memories of the tiny patients whose lives were in her hands, and she writes of them with warmth and clarity. . . . Powerful and lucid . . . The risks of being an emergency flight nurse-night flights, bad weather, human error-come fully alive. . . . Enthralling."—Kirkus Reviews
"With her electrifying scenes, her gorgeous sentences, and her provocative explorations of the borderland between life and death, Culkin engaged my heart, my intellect, my artistic sensibility, and my adrenaline."—Ann Pancake, author of Strange as This Weather Has Been
"I loved the stories, the language, the point of view, but what I loved most was the way this book was able to break my heart—then mend it."—Judith Kitchen, author of Distance and Direction