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  • Writer's pictureSusan Edsall

Recommendation: Grief Is The Thing With Feathers by Max Porter

Grief Is The Thing With Feathers
Grief Is The Thing With Feathers

Grief Is The Thing With Feathers

Max Porter | Read by Jot Davies

I would gladly read through a hundred books—a thousand--if only to find this unparalleled, perfect book. Max Porter depicts grief exactly. I got it first on audible and Jot Davies' exquisite reading, particularly his rendering of Crow, is magnificent. It's an hour and forty five minutes and it's worth it to turn off the phone, put on an eye mask, lay down on the couch and let the book crush you. When I finished this book I wanted to run out in the street and press it into the hands of any stranger who would let me, and tell them to read it, that it would change them, that they would feel utterly understood.

Here's a paragraph from near the beginning:

The doorbell rang and I braced myself for more kindness. Another lasagne, some books, a cuddle, some little potted ready-meals for the boys. Of course, I was becoming expert in the behavior of orbiting grievers. Being at the epicenter grants a curiously anthropological awareness of everybody else; the overwhelmed, the affectedly lackadaisicals, the nothing so fars, the overstayers, the new best friends of hers, of mine, of the boys. The people I still have no fucking idea who they were. I felt like Earth in that extraordinary picture of the planet surrounded by a thick belt of space junk. I felt it would be years before the knotted-string dream of other people's performances of woe for my dead wife would thin enough for me to see any black space again.

If I were you, I would enjoy this book in this way:

  1. Listen to it in one sitting on Audible.

  2. Read about Ted Hughs on Wikipedia.

  3. Read about Silvia Plath on Wikipedia.

  4. Give a donation to Wikipedia.

  5. Order a hard copy of Grief Is The Thing With Feathers from your local bookstore and read it again. If, inexplicably, there is no local bookstore near you, you can order it at Indiebound, Amazon or Barnes and Noble.


About Susan Edsall

Writing is how I make my way through the thicket of what we’ve made of this planet we’re on. It takes me a long time and lots of words. Social media mystifies me. How do so many people have so much to say, so quickly, and with such resolute certainty? Read more about Susan >




“Only connect! That was the whole of her sermon.”

E.M. Forster

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