High Time (Hardcover)
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Abigail Trafford masterfully braids two worlds: the culture and history of an accomplished East Coast family well anchored in time and place, and the life of an adventurous journalist navigating her way through new territories—professional and personal in diverse locales including Paris, Washington, D.C., Houston and Australia’s Northern Territory.
Spirited, clear-eyed, funny and astute, Trafford explores a topsy-turvy time when journalism was a male bastion and the rules of marriage were in flux. Blessed with the secure moorings of a multigenerational family that more than a century ago put down roots on a remote island in Maine, she addresses “downward mobility” and the tragedies that marked her childhood. Her solution was to make her own way. Shrewdly, she had the good sense to do so as a “bolter with roots”—the further she bolted into her career and her own family, the more important the island and her extended family became—“object permanence” in action.
In Trafford’s case, “bolting” was no timid leap. Early in her career at The Washington Post and U.S. News & World Report, she was part of what she refers to as the “First-and-Only generation: first and only women doing the same job as male colleagues.”
High Time—as in “It’s high time I made sense of life”—is an engaging and inspiring guide to crafting a life and a testament to the enduring power of love and place.
About the Author
Abigail Trafford is an author, journalist and public speaker. She wrote the My Time column for The Washington Post, and has been a commentator on Washington Post Radio and a syndicated columnist with Universal Press Syndicate. As the Post’s mhealth editor, she covered a range of stories from health care politics, gene science and the treatment of mental disorders to the sociology of marriage and family and the changing roles of men and women. She is the author of three previous books: My Time, As Time Goes By and Crazy Time. For the past decade, Trafford has focused on the positive impact of the longevity revolution, thanks to the increase in “health span” that offers new opportunities in love and work for older Americans. She lives in Boston and Vinalhaven, Maine.
High Time, Abigail Trafford’s exquisite memoir, provides a blueprint for our later years. Look back to make sense and find peace. Look forward to future generations with love.
-Marc Freedm an, co-CEO of CoGenerate and author of How to Live Forever: The Enduring Power of Connecting the Generations
I loved High Time. Abbie Trafford’s memoir is a poignant, sometimes heartbreaking love letter to the lost world of her New England family. These were perfect people: A stunningly beautiful mother who was a pilot, athlete and musician. A Harvard football-playing father who was a war hero and could ski, sail and, seemingly, do anything. Yet beneath this surface, the family was ravaged by depression, divorce, alcoholism—every symptom of the malady that Trafford calls WASP Rot syndrome. She has woven the book in threads of time, back and forth, revealing page by page the traumas that afflicted her clan. And yet Abbie and her family emerge from this memoir as luminous people, with an afterglow that brightens the Maine island to which they always returned. This is a book about life and death—and what endures. The reader will come to the end with a sigh, and a smile.
-David Ignatius, columnist for The Washington Post, author of 12 novels, including the forthcoming, Phantom Orbit
In this poignant, funny memoir of a traumatic childhood, an adventurous adulthood and a multigenerational family compound on a rocky island in Maine, Abigail Trafford trains her sharp journalist’s eye on subjects ranging from rebellious women to WASP Rot. But her overarching subject is the mysterious power of place to hold a disparate family together. By turns ruminative, penetrating and impressionistic, High Time reads like an absorbing dream from which you’ll regret awakening.
-Janny Scott, former reporter for The New York Times, author of The Beneficiary and A Singular Woman
Summer places are where families tend to be most themselves. They’re where teenagers find first love, where weddings are held, where old people come to die, and where ashes are scattered. In High Time, longtime Washington Post writer Abbie Trafford trains her keen reportorial eye on her family’s beloved summer home in Maine and on the six generations that have returned to it, year after year, with the inexorability of the tide. Her scrupulous excavation, joyful and tragic by turns, is an absorbing and delightful read.
—George Howe Colt, author of The Big House and The Game