Wrongful Deaths (published in the US as Ever After) is the most personal of William Wharton's novels. It tells the tragic life story of the writer's eldest daughter from her childhood, through unhappy marriage and not-too-successful career in teaching to her second much happier marriage and tragic death in a traffic accident caused by grass burning. The accident took the lives of her, her husband and two daughters. This part is poignant and most touching.
The second part details the attempts of the relatives of the deceased to bring the guilty to justice and, which is by far more important, to ban grass burning. This part is even more likely to bring tears to your eyes as it is a losing battle. The mourning families don't stand any chance against the US legal system and the local fat cats. They are cheated and ouwitted by cunning lawyers who are too greedy to see that their actions only add to family tragedies. Wharton's dissection of the US legal system is extremely edifying to anyone who still believes in it.
Wharton presents his personal tragedy in an extremely touching way, inviting the reader to share his loss without giving up his dignity. It is an important and sadly overlooked novel.