Sunbathing by Isobel Beech

Isobel Beech has produced a wonderfully quiet meditation on grief in her debut novel, Sunbathing.

After weeks of grieving, the unnamed woman at the centre of the story books a flight to Italy, to stay with her friends Giulia and Fab, in the lead-up to their wedding. The couple live in the mountains of Abruzzo, in an old villa with a large garden, and the woman’s days fall into a rhythm of tending the vegetable patch, walking to the nearby village, and reflecting on who and what she had lost in Melbourne. Continue reading

Childless by Sian Prior

Sian Prior said something at the Melbourne Writers Festival last year that has stuck in my mind – “‘Childless’…there’s that threat of deep sadness in that one word.” She went on to say that if she walked into a bookshop and saw the title, Childless, she wouldn’t buy the book. But I did. Continue reading

Found, Wanting by Natasha Sholl

I recently did a Grief 101 session for colleagues, mostly to explain the types of grief other than that associated with bereavement. At the end, someone asked about further reading and without hesitation, I recommended Natasha Sholl’s memoir, Found, Wanting. The ‘without hesitation’ bit is noteworthy because I’m usually reluctant to hold up a memoir as a means of understanding grief in a text-booky-way, but Sholl’s writing is succinct and beautiful, compelling and devastatingly real and it would be hard not to identify with what she says in a helpful way. Continue reading

Monogamy by Sue Miller – a literary mix tape

I have a backlog of reviews, and Monogamy by Sue Miller is one of them. I enjoyed it for its exploration of all facets of grief – yes, the sadness and sentimental stuff, but also the anger, resentment, selfishness, the physical and social impact, and the questions that won’t be answered. Continue reading