Debut Memoir by Rachel Rueckert '21 Coming Soon

Coming next month from Common Consent Press is East Winds, a new memoir by alumna Rachel Rueckert ’21.

Jessie Shohfi
November 09, 2022

Coming next month from Common Consent Press is East Winds, a new memoir by alumna Rachel Rueckert ’21.

Like Cheryl Strayed and Elizabeth Gilbert before her, Rueckert uses the form of a travelogue to dive into the questions that haunt her: questions about her marriage, her religion, and the existence of unending love. East Winds picks up on the first night of Rueckert’s honeymoon, as she’s deep in a panic attack over the Mormon concept of “eternal marriage.” Through the course of the book, Rueckert experiences other cultures and traditions, allowing her to examine what marriage truly means to her. 

Rueckert grapples with the same questions of Mormon identity in an essay for The Independent, published last spring, and in an essay for the Association for Mormon Letters, where Rueckert also discusses why she chose to tell her story in this memoir. “Rather than being struck by the lightning of an idea (to use that familiar metaphor), it felt like lightning was already inside me, crackling from within, white-hot and burning to escape and be seen and studied and witnessed and understood by me, its host . . . I feel like I’ve been writing this book all of my life.”

In a starred review, Kirkus calls the book “[a] soulful debut memoir. Rueckert’s reminiscences present readers with an evocative travelogue and a remarkably sensitive and insightful portrait of the difficulties of modern marriage and the compromises that one makes to feel both autonomy and connection . . . Rueckert’s grappling with uncertainty yields courage and a luminous sense of hope. An engrossing exploration of a hard but ultimately exhilarating trek toward love and commitment.”

Associate Professor Gary Shteyngart also calls the memoir "thoroughly smart and clear-eyed. East Winds invites the reader to question their assumptions. Rueckert asks unique questions that resonate on a universal level.”

East Winds will be released on November 15, and is currently available for preorder

Rachel Rueckert is a writer, editor, teacher, and a seventh-generation Utahn. She holds an MFA from Columbia University, an M.Ed from Boston University, and serves as the editor in chief of Exponent II. To learn more about her and her work, visit her website.