This article examines the use of elegiac motifs in Patrick Lane’s 2004 memoir, There Is a Season, in which an overt addiction recovery narrative is combined with elegiac reflections on Lane’s relationship with his mother. Looking at the memoir alongside two of Lane’s elegies, “Mother” and “The Last Day of My Mother,” the article argues that Lane’s complex and often contradictory approach to elegiac consolation conveys a central ambivalence about the ethics of recovering and representing his mother’s life and death, a dilemma that reflects both their difficult relationship and the problematic gender roles inherent in the elegiac tradition. At the same time, There Is a Season also explores the limited possibilities of recovery and consolation available within its prose adaptation of elegiac forms, illustrating the significance of these formal borrowings for the memoir genre more broadly.
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