Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Grief is a Thing With Feathers; Max Porter

GrayWolf Press - 2016

Grief is a Thing With Feathers is a work of fiction, a short novella that takes place in London.  The story opens a few days after a man, with young twin sons has lost his wife.  The cause of her death is not disclosed but, her death was quick and unexpected.

The father, a Ted Hughes scholar, is deep with despair and unable to work. The young boys are dealing with their own sadness, sometimes without the supervision that they need.  Just when things seem they can't get much darker, the three are visited by "Crow" whose purpose is to watch over the grieving.  Crow finds humans dull, except when they are grieving, and he plans to stick around until he is no longer needed by this threesome.

I found this novella somewhat complex, much like grief. The POV shifts between the father, sons and Crow and, the narrative consists of both observations and pieces of poetry.  Of course, Crow had the biggest impact declaring early on, " I won't leave you until you don't need me anymore."  If you are poetry lover you may be reminded of Emily Dickinson's poem, "Hope is a Thing With Feathers."  It was refreshing to see Crow's efforts a success as the father and his sons begin to heal.

If you are looking for something different to read, something that will make you think give this novella a try.

3.5/5 stars


  1. Hm, I think I might have to be in the right mood to try something like this.

  2. This one was a departure from my normal fare...I loved the husband and sons POVs, but was just baffled more than anything by crow's. I'm not a poetry fan, so that could explain it.

  3. I hadn't heard of this one. Sounds interesting.

  4. I have this on my shelf. I plan to read it soon. I am listening to an interview with the author on the Otherpeople podcast. ( I have some grief in my life lately. I hope the book will help. Maybe I need my own crow. We have many in our neighborhood! Thanks for the Emily Dickinson tip.

  5. I had wanted to read this one when it released but have seen some not so praising reviews for it. It sounds interesting, but I don't think the timing is there for me.

  6. I've been seeing this one around a lot with a lot of different opinions. Still on the fence about it but knowing that it's a novella makes me think I might give it a try.


Thanks for taking the time to visit and double thanks for any comments. If you ask a question in your comments, I will try to reply to it here, or by email if your settings allow me to do so. Thanks again for visiting.