Fiction. An elderly man retires and watches his wife slowly die from cancer. WHAT IT TAKES chronicles his grief. Sometimes he tries his best to surmount his grief; sometimes he wearies and coaxes his own end along. He tries to fathom who his grown children have become, especially his son, Freddy, who in turn is attempting to salvage his own life. The old man also travels down his memories growing up with his brothers—one of whom met an untimely end, another layer of grief—and his parents. He tries to navigate the will to live, the desire to be close to others and at the same time wrap himself into a spiral of withdrawal. Torra takes us on a journey in this man's mind as he grapples with finding out—maybe too late, or possibly too soon—what it takes to not just survive, but to live.
Joseph Torra is the author of numerous novels and books of poetry. Titles include Gas Station, Tony Luongo, My Ground, The Bystander's Scrapbook, AFTER THE CHINESE, CALL ME WAITER, and WHAT'S SO FUNNY. He published lift magazine in the early 1990s, and served on the editorial board at Pressed Wafer Press. He lives in Somerville, MA with his wife and daughters. Besides TIME BEING and WHAT IT TAKES, he has also published a novel, THEY SAY, and a prose poetry collection, Watteau Sky,with Quale Press. Author City: SOMERVILLE, MA USA