- Hardcover: 88 pages
- Publisher: PS Publishing; First edition (December 1, 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1906301824
- ISBN-13: 978-1906301828
- Package Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.8 x 0.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 45 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,927,512 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Language of Dying [hc] Hardcover – Deluxe Edition, December 1, 2009
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"A beautiful story, honestly told."―Neil Gaiman
"Pinborough's character dialogue rings with an authenticity that makes the story almost cinematic in its realism . . . the underlying plot is a red-hot wire of conflict as the interactions between characters build to a crescendo of tension and emotions. Anyone who has dealt with the death of a loved one and the false interactions that come with it, will know exactly how the narrator feels as she struggles with feelings of resentment and abandonment."―New York Journal of Books
"Pinborough's novella captures the haunting and mundane vigil as a loved one near death as well as the complexities of how families deal with this tension . . . Moments of strange fantasy make this meditation on loss both unexpected and meaningful."
"This short novel is dark and candid, full of conflicting emotions: love, fear, anger, joy. The prose is evocative and moody, making The Language of Dying a perfect novel for those nighttime hours at home when everyone else is fast asleep. The darkness of the storyteller's inner world echoes on every page."―Shelf Awareness
"The Language of Dying is a beautifully crafted, resonant novella, perfectly capturing the horror of watching a person waste away and the guilt of wishing they would hurry up and die. The potentially supernatural element is well-incorporated and leaves the reader in suspense, hinting at the narrator's mental state and allowing the reader to draw their own conclusions about this peculiar family and the thing that lurks just beyond their house. It's a masterful piece of short fiction, and horror fans would do well to add The Language of Dying to their must-read list."―Fantasy Literature
"A beautiful soul-rending song straight from the heart, this tiny little book packs an emotional punch by shifting gears instead to look at the turbulent nature of grief and the profound effects it has on one troubled family."―The BiblioSanctum
"A literary punch to the gut . . . A beautiful novel, short, sharp and told with painful honesty, which I would say is the product of a writer at the very top of her game."―Independent
"Pinborough demonstrates the ability to skewer relationships and emotions with precise phrases."―Sci-Fi Bulletin
"Beautifully written for such a difficult subject, the family details are incredible considering the length.. much heavier than one expects from such a slim story and it opened wounds. Well done!"―Bookstalker
"I was deeply moved by the interaction of the narrator with her father as she spoke to him about the family, memories, her life, etc. It was touching and sad. I would recommend this book to anyone as it offers a quick yet insightful and layered reading experience."―Mali Reads
"This is a heartbreaking story and at times very hard to read. But it is well written and moving. This is a quick read but one that you will think of for a long time."―J Bronder Book Reviews
"a deeply personal and heartfelt novella"―Bookreporter
"A beautifully written and powerful story about death and the inescapable bonds of family."―Books, Bones, and Buffy
"beautifully written story that effectively illustrates the power of grief and the indelible mark it leaves on us"―For the Love of Words --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.
About the Author
Sarah Pinborough was a teacher, but now writes full-time. She is developing an original horror screenplay, Cracked, and her supernatural crime series, The Dog-Faced Gods, for TV. She has also written episodes for the popular BBC crime drama New Tricks. Her latest book is Behind Her Eyes. She lives in West London. --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.
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Perhaps my disappointment comes from the LACK of words that I was expecting. Reviewers praise the author's lyrical language, and the beauty of her descriptions... but I simply wasn't dazzled. I wanted more introspection, more profundity. I wanted to feel the narrator's pain, yet found her character weak and vague, and constantly complaining to herself. She was so selfish as a narrator, that she barely gave any depth to her siblings' characters. Instead of finishing the book at a meager 144 pages, I would have preferred a deeper understanding of why the others took such superficial roles in caring for their father, and of the feelings they had for him and for each other. Even the dying father, the other protagonist, is faint and undefined. Many wonderful words could have been spent in describing him, his feelings and perhaps his last reflections.
Finally, there are other themes in the book that merited further detail, such as the imaginary creature lurking in the shadows and its meaning and relevance to the main character. Also, I wanted to learn of the aftershocks after the mother abandoned them, and how her absence impacted the family.
1. It's written in second person (When I saw YOU), and that's a little jarring. This is honestly the first story I've read in second person that wasn't written by a first grader. I would've preferred first person, but, well, we can't always get what we want.
2. That dark, nameless presence thing is more a symbol than a part of the book. So if you're (Second person, I'm so clever) looking for a supernatural/paranormal book, it's more supernormal than paranatural.
If those two things are okay, then definitely, read this. Basically, this is a story about the narrator dealing with her father as he's sick and dying and can't do much for himself. Most of the story is told through flashbacks of the narrator living with her dad or dealing with her siblings (who show up for his dying time as well) and all those dramatic family dynamics like a sitcom's Thanksgiving episode.
Maybe that's not the best holiday since this is set in the UK. But it's not all bangers and trainers; even if you're unlucky enough NOT to be married to a hot Brit, it shouldn't be a problem. (Poor, poor, people)
Full disclosure, I work in end of life care, and people react to their loved ones dying in different ways. Some people that read this might think that the family is apathetic, cold, unrealistic, but in my experience, that's a common way to grieve when the death is slow and drawn out. Families grieve in different ways. This book doesn't the kind of heartwarming, friendly advice like a televangelist saying all is well, but focuses on a different, troubled family and how they deal with it. And the depiction of these people and how they deal with it is the most real I've seen yet.
There's more inspirational, life-changing books about the dying process out there, but for one with a less happy tone that realistically shows the way a broken family deals with the passing of the glue that held them together, read this one.
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