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Grief is the Thing with Feathers (2015)

de Max Porter

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9906315,427 (3.83)133
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 sentimental bird is drawn to the grieving family and threatens to stay until they no longer need him. As weeks turn to months and the pain of loss gives way to memories, the little unit of three starts to heal. In this extraordinary debut - part novella, part polyphonic fable, part essay on grief - Max Porter's compassion and bravura style combine to dazzling effect. Full of unexpected humour and profound emotional truth, Grief Is the Thing with Feathers marks the arrival of a thrilling new talent.… (mais)
Adicionado recentemente porKrinsekatze, RaiseHigh, ceg, porcelaintree, lanceparkin, PaulBooks1882, biblioteca privada, Tess_W
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» Veja também 133 menções

Inglês (58)  Italiano (2)  Holandês (2)  Sueco (1)  Todos os idiomas (63)
Mostrando 1-5 de 63 (seguinte | mostrar todas)
Absolutely beautiful-one of the best books I have read this year. ( )
  Timwindram | Feb 28, 2021 |
Mind boggling..
All the images and feelings are really satisfying to read. ( )
  mjhunt | Jan 22, 2021 |
I give this 5 stars because the main character is not just a crow, but the crow from Ted Hughes or at least the spirit of the crow that Ted Hughes got close to. This book does that too.

I also give it 5 stars because it deals with death and loss in a real and meaningful way.

It is short and can be read quickly. I'd recommend savouring it and only at night when you are in bed and don't have to be anywhere else.

Can't say enough good things and don’t want to dilute my thoughts either so just read it. ( )
1 vote Ken-Me-Old-Mate | Sep 24, 2020 |
This book is a joy that will make you cry. To be an adult is to inhabit the real world, so being human requires confrontation with loss: loved ones lost, innocence lost, dreams that die. To mature into adulthood is to lose our fantasies and inhabit the world as it is, full of limitations, and not as we wish it to be. Loss is everywhere. And so, therefore, is grieving - the process through which we let go of our dreams that are not possible in reality. We cannot bring loved ones back from the dead. We cannot go back in time. We cannot force lovers or friends to be who we wish them to be. “We would do well to prepare ourselves for disappointment.” But we do not. Instead we are compelled to repeat. “I want to be there again. Again, and again…. Again. I beg everything again.” Here, “there was very little division between my imaginary and real worlds."


This book tells a specific story of loss and grieving, but it is also very self-aware. It knows, and it wants the reader to know, that it is really writing at a meta level about grieving more generally. The legend to decode the novel’s symbolism is placed right in front of the reader throughout the book - beginning with the title. The book acknowledges that “motherless children are pure crow [grief],” and so suggests that the author wants to talk about grief itself, the specific form in the book selected for its representation of a pure case of grief - allowing the reader, through the story, to focus on the grieving and not the characters or the story. This comes out again later, in the father’s position on disagreement between two poets: “it was time to shed all that crap and assess the poetry without partisan biographical bickering.” His publisher agrees “It’s not about them."

Grief must force itself on an unwilling widower and son(s).
Grief can do things others can’t: like eat sorrow, swallow [emotional] filth, and unbirth secrets.
Grief is a bloody load of time wasted.
And yet, despite all of this, in forcing us to see ourselves and the world as they are, grief “is the fabric of selfhood, and beautifully chaotic.”

Crow/Grief behaves in constant exchange between complete being/living and black stain/mourning. This is offered up for us as a continuous model of the ongoing process of life. This is harder for the adult. The son(s) are offered up in mathematical form as equal to the sum of both the father, who resists, and crow, who pushes the father along through grief’s path. [Suggesting, of course, that if the Crow is imaginary, then so might be one of the boys.] The boys, instead, play with their loss and get to know it. They throw away valuable belongings of their father’s. They imagine playing death games, running fast against a tree to see who can swerve away latest. They joked about one another dying, calling them “DEAD MEAT!” The father begins to make progress by imagining the crow and himself facing each other holding hand-puppets of each other: a ying-yang incorporation and a dialogue with grief.


Crow/Grief comes to teach the father a constant balancing - but it is described as faith. Why does the father need faith the engage in the mourning process of constant balancing? The father is described as quiet, mocked by kids at school when younger, and mocked by his own sons when older. And, for the sake of his children, “he couldn’t rage. He couldn’t want to die.” And so faith for the father came first. He had to learn to trust the Crow, to trust grief, to trust himself.

The conception of the mother not as a mother, but merely as a vehicle for us to look at loss and grieving in the book, helps us understand the selection of the mother’s ghost regressing to her own childhood instead of focusing on her relationship with her husband. Equally, the suggested idea that the mother was never the children’s real mother, also makes more sense when the mother is read as metaphorical vehicle. Acceptance of this idea allows the boys to let go and become “very successful kings.” When we are caught hanging on to our dreams and delusions, grief allows us to let go and accept they were never ours: it was never as we had willed it to be, reality speaks to us, and mourning the loss of delusions allows us to connect with that reality.


Still, the father does not wish to move on. “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 slow or speed to fix.” And there is Crow, headlocking the father, “you’re not alone, kid.” The father gets there, in the end, by writing about it, by expressing his grief through a book. Like Max Porter? ( )
  GeorgeHunter | Sep 13, 2020 |
Fantastic short book Porter wrote here. Loved the voice of Crow, and I don't feel weird knowing that I read this out loud to myself. It was just much better to hear the sounds out loud.
The book was sad, funny, dirty, hopeful.
More than worth the short amount of time it takes to read. ( )
1 vote mbeaty91 | Sep 9, 2020 |
Mostrando 1-5 de 63 (seguinte | mostrar todas)
Grief Is the Thing with Feathers is heartrending, blackly funny, deeply resonant, a perfect summation of what it means to lose someone but still to love the world – and if it reminds publishers that the best books aren’t always the ones that can be pigeonholed or precis-ed or neatly packaged, so much the better.
adicionado por 2wonderY | editarThe Guardian, Sarah Crown (Sep 12, 2015)
 

» Adicionar outros autores (9 possíveis)

Nome do autorFunçãoTipo de autorObra?Status
Max Porterautor principaltodas as ediçõescalculado
Crow, EleanorArtista da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Lingen, Saskia van derTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Piraccini, SilviaTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
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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 sentimental bird is drawn to the grieving family and threatens to stay until they no longer need him. As weeks turn to months and the pain of loss gives way to memories, the little unit of three starts to heal. In this extraordinary debut - part novella, part polyphonic fable, part essay on grief - Max Porter's compassion and bravura style combine to dazzling effect. Full of unexpected humour and profound emotional truth, Grief Is the Thing with Feathers marks the arrival of a thrilling new talent.

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