Not of Reason

A Recipe for Outrunning Sadness

By Rita Moir

Categories: Memoir
Imprint: Caitlin Press
Paperback : 9781773860633, 208 pages, September 2021

A memoir of the death of a sister and the disruption and restoration of the natural order.


Rita Moir's mother and sister underwent heart surgery in the same week; a year later her sister was dead and her elderly mother lived many more years. Not of Reason: A Recipe for Outrunning Sadness is a family memoir centred on the deaths of the author's sister and mother and the final restoration of what is considered "the natural order."

Encouraged by her mother to "opt for joy," Moir remained grounded within her rural BC community in the Slocan Valley, becoming deeply involved in everything from her local community hall to seniors housing and her local burial society, while continuing to travel to Minnesota to help her sister and mother. Moir's journalist's eye for detail brings sharp clarity to this beautiful and contemplative work, from the almost unbearable story of her sister's difficult death, to digging in her garden, learning to dance and training her dog, to a day of glory and majesty near her brother's home on the Bay of Fundy. The movement between urban and rural life creates what award-winning memoirist Patricia Hampl describes as "a kind of musical movement, allegro/andante...beautiful, hard won, finely took my breath away."

In Not of Reason, award-winning writer Rita Moir explores her intense love for her sister with unwavering honesty, and wrestles with the alluring solace of religion when the natural order is knocked out of alignment. As Moir grows stronger, finding her own kind of peace and joy, the natural order, as always, restores itself.


"Rita Moir creates two indelible worlds--St. Paul and that home of family and relationships and even drama--the drama of death, and BC with home and life there. The fact that one is urban, the other rural, creates a kind of musical movement--allegro/andante. It took my breath away."

--Patricia Hampl, award-winning author of The Florist's Daughter

“I needed this book—a beautiful meditation on life, death, family, loss, and love. Not of Reason feels like a glass of wine with your wisest, warmest, most honest friend—an antidote to sadness. Rita Moir is a gift.”

—Angie Abdou, author of This One Wild Life

“With staggeringly gorgeous prose and a wise, deeply compelling voice, Rita Moir’s latest memoir is a rare delight for both heart and mind.”

—Sarah Louise Butler, author of The Wild Heavens

“If you have navigated the bonds of family, experienced love and loss, and enjoyed the simple triumph of getting through the day intact and with a sense of humour, this book is for you.”

—Anne DeGrace, author of Flying with Amelia