Grief is the Thing with Feathers

Recommended by Sophie Ratcliffe, and 1 others. See all reviews

Ranked #24 in Grief, Ranked #98 in Abstract

In a London flat, two young boys face the unbearable sadness of their mother's sudden death. Their father, a Ted Hughes scholar and scruffy romantic, imagines a future of well-meaning visitors and emptiness.

In this moment of despair they are visited by Crow - antagonist, trickster, healer, babysitter. This self-described sentimental bird is attracted to the grieving family and threatens to stay until they no longer need him. As weeks turn to months and physical pain of loss gives way to memories, this little unit of three begin to heal.

In this extraordinary debut -...

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Sophie Ratcliffe What struck me about this book is the way in which grief is embodied. In Max Porter’s novel (or novel-poem), grief becomes ‘Crow’, who descends upon this family. He’s variously a babysitter, a friend, a ghost, a terrorizer. He impersonates a mother; he’s a joker; he’s twisted. He causes chaos. That’s what it captures: the absolute unpredictability, and nastiness, and then sudden benevolence of grief. (Source)

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