A Certain Loneliness

A Certain Loneliness

A Memoir

Sandra Gail Lambert

American Lives Series

210 pages


September 2018


$19.95 Add to Cart
eBook (PDF)

September 2018


$19.95 Add to Cart
eBook (EPUB)

September 2018


$19.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

After contracting polio as a child, Sandra Gail Lambert progressed from braces and crutches to a manual wheelchair to a power wheelchair—but loneliness has remained a constant, from the wild claustrophobia of a child in body casts to just yesterday, trapped at home, gasping from pain. A Certain Loneliness is a meditative and engaging memoir-in-essays that explores the intersection of disability, queerness, and female desire with frankness and humor.

Lambert presents the adventures of flourishing within a world of uncertain tomorrows: kayaking alone through swamps with alligators; negotiating planes, trains, and ski lifts; scoring free drugs from dangerous men; getting trapped in a too-deep snow drift without crutches. A Certain Loneliness is literature of the body, palpable and present, in which Lambert’s lifelong struggle with isolation and independence—complete with tiresome frustrations, slapstick moments, and grand triumphs—are wound up in the long history of humanity’s relationship to the natural world.

Author Bio

Sandra Gail Lambert is a writer of both fiction and memoir. She is the author of The River’s Memory. She was awarded an NEA fellowship based on an excerpt from A Certain Loneliness.


“In these lyrical and elegiac essays, Sandra Lambert traces a profound relationship with nature—both the vanishing nature of the planet and the complex nature of her own philosophy. Her language is moving, intimate, and bracingly honest.”—Andrew Solomon, National Book Award–winning author of Far from the Tree

“Having pushed her wheelchair past two hundred alligators, Lambert has written a brilliant and necessary account of a wise and triumphant life as a writer, activist, kayaker, lesbian lover, birder, and survivor of polio. I’m in awe of her gifts.”—Carolyn Forché, author of The Country between Us

“I have loved Sandra Gail Lambert’s stunning and flexible prose for a long time and still was unprepared for the power and searing honesty of her memoir, A Certain Loneliness. This book is an act of tremendous beauty.”—Lauren Groff, author of New York Times bestseller Fates and Furies?

Table of Contents

1. Solace: Three of the Places
2. The Laundromat
3. Figuring It Out
4. Well-Nourished White Child
5. Atlanta—1968
6. Sex Objects
7. Complex Math
8. Atlanta—1984
9. Becoming Lazy
10. Rolling in the Mud
11. Open-Water Swimmers
12. Pass the Hemlock
13. Poster Children
14. The Art of Budgeting
15. Mosquitoes
16. Negotiating a Life
17. Dehiscence
18. May or May Not
19. Atlanta—2007
20. The Last Period
21. Immoderation and Excess
22. Looking for the V
23. Yielding
24. I Am Here, in This Morning Light
25. Pride Goeth
26. Horror in the Okefenokee
27. I’m Fine, Thank You
28. The Blind Girl and the Cripple Get on a Plane
29. The Swimmer
Source Acknowledgments

Also of Interest