One Minute Book Review – Grief is the Thing with Feathers by Max Porter


Grief is the Thing with Feathers is a slim almost surreal novel which through prose, dialogue and poetry traces the grieving of a father and two young sons coming to terms with the death of their wife and mother. Their life in chaos, Crow arrives in the middle of the night and takes on the role of caretaker of the family. Crow is man-sized yet still a crow at heart and functions also as both trickster and healer. This is a deeply literary novel – the father is a scholar writing a book on Ted Hughes’ poetry and Hughes’ crow poems are referenced. The title itself refers to the poem by Emily Dickinson, ‘Hope’ is the thing with feathers.

The novel is a mediation not only on love and loss, grief and healing but also memory, marriage and family. The language is simple and down to earth yet poignant with unexpected humour. An elegant book that deserves a second reading to be fully appreciated.

A more detailed review can be found here.

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