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Extended Audio Sample Visiting Hours: A Memoir of Friendship and Murder, by Amy Butcher Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Amy Butcher Narrator: Emily Woo Zeller Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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With echoes of Darin Strauss’ Half a Life and Cheryl Strayed’s Wild comes a beautifully written, riveting memoir that examines the complexities of friendship in the aftermath of a tragedy.

Four weeks before their college graduation, twenty-one-year-old Kevin Schaeffer walked Amy Butcher to her home in their college town of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Hours after parting ways with Amy, he fatally stabbed his ex-girlfriend, Emily Silverstein. While he awaited trial, psychiatrists concluded he had suffered an acute psychotic break. Amy was severely affected by Kevin’s crime but remained devoted to him as a friend. Over time she became obsessed—determined to discover the narrative that explained what Kevin had done, believing that Kevin’s actions were the direct result of his untreated illness.

The tragedy deeply shook her concept of reality, disrupted her sense of right and wrong, and dismantled every conceivable notion she’d established about herself and her relation to the world. Amy eventually realized that she’d never have the answers, or find personal peace, unless she went after them herself. She drove across the country back to Gettysburg for the first time in the three years since graduation to sift through hundreds of pages of public records—mental health evaluations, detectives’ notes, inventories of evidence, search warrants, testimonies, even Kevin’s own confession.

This is Amy Butcher’s deeply personal, heart-wrenching account of the consequences of failing her friend when perhaps he needed one most. It’s the story of how trauma affects memory and the way a friendship changes and often strengthens through seemingly insurmountable challenges. Ultimately, it’s a powerful testament to the bonds we share with others and the profound resiliency and strength of the human spirit.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “At the heart of this story, beyond Butcher’s search to understand the incomprehensible, lies our societal failure to recognize serious depression as the potentially fatal illness that it is…What William Styron’s Darkness Visible approaches from an insider’s perspective, Visiting Hours addresses from an outside viewpoint, that of the family and friends who often feel at a loss to help. Butcher is strongest in the final chapters, when her eyes turn outward, investigating Schaeffer’s story in light of our country’s alarming suicide rate.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “With equal parts horror and anguish, [Butcher] understood that ‘the chain of events that led to Emily’s death [were] events that could happen to any of us.’ A gripping and poignant memoir.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • “There are horrors in Visiting Hours—some of them emotional, some incomprehensibly not. But what rises above it all in this exhilaratingly honest and brutal debut is what might be the book’s most disturbingly beautiful element: its tribute to memory, its testament of love, and its wide-eyed inquiry into just how long those two things really last.”

    John D’Agata, author of About a Mountain

  • “Amy Butcher asks the two hardest questions: what do we mean to ourselves and what do we mean to each other? She asks in innocence and responds with hard earned experience and wisdom to share. You will need to give Visiting Hours away and buy another for yourself so you have someone to talk to about it.”

    Robert Olmstead, author of Coal Black Horse

  • “Beautifully dense yet accessible prose rendered with complete honesty. She will make you question everyone you’ve ever thought you’ve known.”

    Mary Miller, author of The Last Days of California

  • “An incredible portrait of trauma. In crisp, beautiful pose…Butcher’s generous and honest meditation on how traumatic memory can shape ordinary lives will make you a better and more empathetic person.”

    Jen Percy, author of Demon Camp

  • A Kirkus Reviews Pick of 9 Memoirs You Shouldn't Miss
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About the Author

Amy Butcher is a graduate of the University of Iowa’s Nonfiction Writing Program and Gettysburg College. She is the recipient of the 2014 Iowa Review Award for literary nonfiction, and her work has appeared in the Rumpus, Kenyon Review, and North American Review and online at Tin House, Salon, and the Paris Review. She is the editor of Defunct and an assistant professor of English at Ohio Wesleyan University.