The Language of Dying by Sarah Pinborough
I read this probably just over a week ago but couldn’t begin to write a review for it. In fact even now I think this will be difficult.
This will be a short review – not as a reflection of the way I felt about the book – but simply because I’m struggling for once to put my feelings into words.
This is basically a narrative from a young woman, a sort of letter to her own father who she has been looking after during his illness. Her father is dying of cancer and the narrator over the space of a few days, with her siblings joining her and through a number of flashbacks tells a short story of life and death. It’s a story of family, letting go and ultimately escaping and breaking free – probably of your own inner demons.
This isn’t an easy book to read. It’s dark and bleak without doubt. A number of us will have experienced the death of a loved one and the writing in this book is so powerful it will recall those moments vividly. The portrayal of the family and the petty rivalries, jealousies and allegiances are perfectly defined and it really is a book that makes you sit back and reflect on past experiences. Basically, death, far from bringing people closer together quite often has the opposite effect and sometimes brings out the worst in people.
I think that perhaps the most significant compliment I can pay this book is that I came away from it thinking it must be true in parts – that it felt like a book that was almost cathartic for the author – that’s literally how believable the writing and emotions are! I don’t believe that this is really the case of course but it really had me believing that as I was reading.
This is a book that may make you feel raw – but it’s still a book that I would recommend- just maybe choose your moment before picking it up.