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“Grief is the Thing with Feathers” lives up to its rave reviews as a profound exploration of grief and loss. The Times calls it “Amazing and Unforgettable,” while The Guardian praises it as “Unlike anything I’ve read before” and “Heartrending, blackly funny, deeply resonant.” Google Books describes this unique blend of genres as “…part novella, part polyphonic fable, part essay on grief.”

This beautifully written book, though short, packs a powerful punch. Max Porter tells the story of a father and his two sons grappling with the death of their wife and mother. Amid their grief, a crow appears, challenging their perceptions and guiding them through their healing process.

While the book’s lyrical prose might initially be confronting finding the rhythm is key to unlocking its beauty. Each character has a distinct voice and pace, creating a mesmerising reading experience. “Grief is the Thing with Feathers” delves into the raw emotions of grief in a way that is both heart-wrenching and hopeful.

Crow, the mischievous and wise bird, is a standout character. He forces the father to confront his grief head-on while also providing comfort and guidance to the boys. Crow’s presence is a testament to the resilience of the human spirit and the ability to find hope even in the darkest of times.

Here’s what I loved about “Grief is the Thing with Feathers”:

  • Vivid imagery: Porter’s writing paints a visceral picture of grief, allowing readers to truly feel the characters’ emotions.
  • Playful language: Despite the heavy subject matter, the book’s language is often playful and even humorous, adding a unique dimension to the story.
  • Rhythm: The distinct voices and rhythms of the characters create a musicality that draws readers in.
  • Realness: The book doesn’t shy away from the harsh realities of grief, but it also offers hope and resilience.
  • Relationships: The relationships between the characters are complex, heartwarming, and heartbreaking, all at the same time.
  • Crow: This enigmatic character is both guide and comforter, offering wisdom and support throughout the grieving process.

Something to remember

As the book so eloquently puts it, “Moving on, as a concept, is for stupid people, because any sensible person knows grief is a long-term project. I refuse to rush. The pain that is thrust upon us let no man show on speed to fix.” “Grief is the Thing with Feathers” is a reminder that grief is a journey, not a destination. It’s a book that will stay with you long after you’ve turned the final page.

If you would like to explore more blog posts, you can find them here.

And for meaningful tools like journals and family cards, visit my online store here. Discover resources to support healing and connection in your journey.

Cait Wotherspoon - Grief therapist in Sydney

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