Monday, August 15, 2016

The Language of Dying

TITLE: The Language of Dying
AUTHOR: Sarah Pinborough
PUBLISHER: Jo Fletcher Books
PUBLISHING DATE: August 2, 2016

FROM GOODREADS:  In this emotionally gripping, genre-defying novella from Sarah Pinborough, a woman sits at her father's bedside, watching the clock tick away the last hours of his life. Her brothers and sisters--she is the middle child of five--have all turned up over the past week to pay their last respects. Each is traumatized in his or her own way, and the bonds that unite them to each other are fragile--as fragile perhaps as the old man's health.

With her siblings all gone, back to their self-obsessed lives, she is now alone with the faltering wreck of her father's cancer-ridden body. It is always at times like this when it--the dark and nameless, the impossible, presence that lingers along the fringes of the dark fields beyond the house--comes calling.

As the clock ticks away in the darkness, she can only wait for it to find her, a reunion she both dreads and aches for...

Having never read a Pinborough novel before, I wasn't sure what to expect when I started "The Language of Dying." I also had not done much research on the book, so I was pretty unsure of the plot as well. I kind of believe this book is best read that way. "The Language of Dying" is hauntingly beautiful yet downright depressing at the same time. The story tells the tale of a woman and her father. The father is dying of cancer and when the books starts, the reader quickly becomes aware that their time together is limited. The brothers and sister of the main character, who is never named, weave in and out of the story and as to be expected with this type of situation, family drama ensues. There is also a mystical element to the book in that several times in her life, the MC has been visited by this overwhelming black beast during times of trials and tribulations in her life (pretty sure unicorn even though that is mentioned as well). The MC is trying to figure out if this actually happened or if she created the image in her own head.

I really enjoyed seeing the family dynamics play out in "The Language of Dying." Throughout the book the reader gets a glimpse of what created this family, and why the MC is who she is today. I also felt a deep attachment to the MC and what she was going through, even though it brought back memories of my father passing away 3 years ago. While reading this, I was grateful that I hadn't read it near my father's death, but as fate likes to sometimes rear it's ugly head, during the last 30 pages or so we received a phone call that my father-in-law had been rushed to the hospital and was being maintained on life support, he too a victim of cancer.

I've thought a lot about this book over the past few days and I think the ending couldn't have been more perfect. Pinborough didn't try to make a ugly situation pretty or glamorous, but she did make it lyrical, haunting and realistic. Families can be very flawed and often grow apart and this book makes that very evident. I will forever respect the author for her portrayal of those dynamics and this book will always hold a dear place in my heart. I don't really know who to recommend this book to but if you've enjoyed the author in the past, you simply must read this one as well.

I was provided a copy of the book from Netgalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.



  1. Great review, though not sure this one is for me. :)

  2. Oh no, sorry to hear about your father in law:-( I'll be reading this soon, it sounds like something just about everyone can relate to.

  3. This was such a beautiful, heartbreaking novella. I don't think I could have read it if I'd recently lost someone close to me, or a loved one was dying. It would have broken me. So sorry to hear about father in law.

    ~Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum