Without a Map

Without a Map Paperback Edition

Listed as one of ten “truly addictive stories” by O Magazine

2007 BookSense “Pick of the Year”

A 2007 Elle Magazine Reader’s Pick

“A haunting meditation on love, loss and family.” —Caroline Leavitt, People (4 stars)

“Hall emerges as a brave writer of tumultuous beauty.” —Alanna Nash, Entertainment Weekly

“An unusually elegant memoir that feels as though it’s been carved straight out of Meredith Hall’s capacious heart. The story is riveting, the words perfect.” —Lauren Slater

Meredith Hall grew up bonded to her insular New Hampshire community, comforted by the hallmarks of belonging: perfect attendance in Sunday school, classmates who seemed more like cousins, teachers who held her up as a model student, a mother who loved her unconditionally. Then, at sixteen, she became pregnant, and all at once those who had held her close and kept her safe turned their backs.

The same day in 1965 that Meredith was expelled from school, her mother told her “You can’t stay here.” Her father and stepmother reluctantly offered Meredith a cold sanctuary until she gave birth to the child she gave up for adoption. Then she was banned from her father’s home forever. For the next decade she wandered, lost to society and to herself. Slowly, Meredith began stitching together a life that encircled her silenced and invisible grief.

When he was twenty-one years old, Meredith’s lost son found her. She learned that he had grown up in gritty poverty with an abusive father—in her own father’s hometown. Their reunion was tender and turbulent, a renaissance. Meredith’s parents never asked for her forgiveness, yet as they aged, she offered them her love. Without a Map charts an extraordinary path in which loss and betrayal evolve into compassion, and compassion into wisdom.

Meredith Hall’s other works have been published in the following:

  • Kenyon Review, “The Simplest Questions” (2008)
  • Anthology: Keep It Real: Everything You Need to Know about Researching and Writing Creative Nonfiction (W.W. Norton, 2008)
  • Anthology: Modern Love: The Best of the NY Times “Modern Love” Column (Three Rivers Press, 2007)
  • Good Housekeeping, “Then He Found Me” (October 2007)
  • Southern Review, “Crossroads” (2007)
  • The New Hampshire Magazine, “This Stranger, My Son” (2007)
  • Five Points , “Drawing the Line” (2006)
  • Creative Nonfiction, “Without a Map” (2006)
  • Prairie Schooner, “Outport Shadows” (2006)
  • Prairie Schooner, “Waiting” (2006)
  • The Fourth Genre, “A River of Light” (2006)
  • Anthology: The Essay Connection (Houghton Mifflin, 2006 and 2007)
  • Anthology: Kiss Tomorrow Hello: True Stories from the Midlife Underground (Doubleday, 2006)
  • Spoon River Anthology, Poem: “Subtraction” (2006)
  • The New York Times, “At Sixteen” (March 6, 2005)
  • Anthology: In Fact: Best of Creative Nonfiction (W.W. Norton, 2004 and 2005)
  • Anthology: Pushcart Prize XXIX (Pushcart Press, 2004)
  • Creative Nonfiction, “Shunned” (2003)
  • Creative Nonfiction, “Killing Chickens” (2002)