On the way home from London recently, I bought two new books while killing time at the train station. I can’t resist the lure of a new book.
I didn’t realise it at the time, but both were about dealing with grief.
Both stories were about the loss of a mother.
And unusually for me, I’ve read both books already, instead of consigning them forever to the bookshelf and my to-read pile.
The two books drew different reactions from me.
One was a poetic, abstract meditation on a broken family, which didn’t stir any emotion in me.
The other was a visceral book – for children, no less – that broke my heart as I read about a boy dealing with his mother’s fight with cancer.
In A Monster Calls, Patrick Ness has written a profound and sometimes allegorical tale about coping with cancer. It’s a simple story, but it cuts right to the heart of the issue.
For all the praise it has received, Grief is the Thing with Feathers by Max Porter cannot match its sheer power.