“Deep curiosity, deep listening, that’s what we have to give to each other. Reading is a form of deep listening, isn’t it? Staying with something, and being affected by it." Maggie Gee
Posts tagged "grief"
Plain shelves and glittering prose

Plain shelves and glittering prose

William Friend’s debut novel Black Mamba is a chilling tale of hauntings, fatherhood, sexual attraction and the taboos of grief. Since his wife Pippa died suddenly nine months ago, Alfie has been struggling to look after their twin daughters. When they tell him one night there’s a man that comes to them in their room,...
Ellen Hawley: Hard-earned love

Ellen Hawley: Hard-earned love

As any art director, editor or marketer would insist, a book should always be judged by its cover. What made Other People Manage so pickupable for me, was the immediate association with books by Anne Tyler, Carol Shields, Alice Munro, Suzanne Berne… you get the picture. Physically, and thematically, this book resembles those other rather...
It started with a chair

It started with a chair

I’d been swimming in the Ladies’ Pond on Hampstead Heath and was walking home along the lane, stomping colour back into my toes, when I bumped into a lifeguard friend who I hadn’t seen for a few weeks. When she isn’t at the pond, she’s usually making giant sculptures, weaving willow into stunning shapes. But...
Christina Patterson: Five lives

Christina Patterson: Five lives

When her brother Tom died suddenly at the age of 57, it fell to Christina Patterson, as the last surviving member of the immediate family, to clear out his house. She diligently sorted through the papers Tom had gathered, including all manner of diaries, letters and photographs left by their parents and older sister Caroline....
Precious weirdness

Precious weirdness

Claire Vaye Watkins’ I Love You, But I’ve Chosen Darkness, is an immersive, transgressive and darkly funny work of autofiction. Its narrator, a writer named Claire Vaye Watkins, leaves her husband and newborn baby daughter to go on a book tour, which transforms into a wild romp away from the confines of marriage and motherhood,...
A ghost of Christmas, present

A ghost of Christmas, present

The smell hits me as Gary closes the door behind me. Some Scratch ’n’ Sniff abomination – I’d call it ‘December 1983’, but I’m damned if I know what it actually is. “It’s frankincense,” Gary says. “Off a display at Bed Bath & Beyond. Little spray bottle. Heh.” He shrugs. “Guess I got trigger-happy.” “Apparently,” I...
Elif Shafak: Time to reconnect

Elif Shafak: Time to reconnect

Elif Shafak’s richly evocative, elegantly crafted novel The Island of Missing Trees transports readers between 1970s Cyprus and 21st–century London in a cross-generational saga of passion, trauma, memory and renewal. Greek Cypriot Kostas and Turkish Cypriot Defne fall in love as teenagers in the divided city of Nicosia in 1974, meeting undercover in the back...
Grief and transformation

Grief and transformation

My debut novel This Shining Life is a meditation on grief. It follows a family on their journey through bereavement after the death of Rich, a beloved father, son, husband and friend. When I first invented his character I saw him in a garden at dawn with the sky pale and peachy behind him. He...
Rich

Rich

He woke up at dawn and shuffled to the edge of the bed. Ruth did not stir. She always slept deeply at this time, when there was a chill in the air and the sky was dusky over the river. Rich, though, was at his most wakeful. He rummaged in the heap of clothes on...
On ghosts and grace

On ghosts and grace

At the outset of our email chat about her new novel Ghosted, when I tell her how deeply I connected with her story, Jenn Ashworth accepts my heartfelt praise with the comment: “It’s all I want, really, when people read my books – just to feel like they’ve been acknowledged and offered something half-useful.” It’s...