I would say this book is short and sweet, but there is nothing sweet about the bitter end of a life, sitting in a bed counting down the minutes. Instead, I can say this short book was an honest look at what happens to families when the glue that holds them together is crumbling away. In this case, the patriarch of the family is dying as his sons and daughters come together for his last moments on Earth. The family dynamic is challenged, the roles each sibling plays in the care of their father are not clearly defined, and the characters struggle through a situation no one knows how to properly handle.
“Even when by rights it has no place left to be, love is hard to kill.”
This was my first Sarah Pinborough book, though I want to read Behind Her Eyes, and it was right up my alley. I love books that break apart the human psyche as it is challenged with different trials. Death is the ultimate trial, and most authors tend to shy away from discussing the topic at depth. I love that Sarah tackled the subject, making such a bleak topic the center of her entire book without creating an incredibly depressing story. She instead focused on the ties that bind us.
I was stunned by the true depiction of a family bond. The past memories of childhood tie people together. However, Pinborough shows how people can know so much about a person and their history without knowing them at all. The family dynamic in this story shows us the true meaning of, “I love you, but I don’t like you.”
I am also always enamored with books written in a British “accent”, so to speak. Much to my delight, the characters immersed me in the dialect. I’m not quite sure how I can be homesick for a country I’ve never been to, unless I was a Brit in a past life, but I enjoyed being taken abroad through The Language of Dying.
The writing was phenomenal. I was hoping to absorb an iota of Pinborough’s talent through osmosis while I was reading. The sentences were dripping with honesty and poetically crafted. Hints of magic were thrown into the mix of this realistic tale, making it all the more interesting. For such a short story to cause a dramatic emotional punch is proof of the author’s talent. I will be picking up more of her work as soon as possible for Sarah’s writing alone.
NOTE: If someone has experienced the pain that comes with loss, I think this book is a relatable story without breaking apart healed wounds. It may instead help people to feel less lonely in their struggles with the end of a life.
Thank you to Jo Fletcher Books for providing me with a copy of The Language of Dying to review.