Death Positive Libraries

Death positive libraries aim to remove the barriers to talking about death and dying. Almost 80% of British adults find it difficult to talk about death, even though we all have to face it. Not talking about death, not getting the right support and advice at the right time and the suffering that people go… Continue reading Death Positive Libraries

Bereavement

When someone a child loves dies it can be very difficult for them to understand what has happened. Whether they have lost a parent, grandparent, sibling, friend or pet, the emotions may be overwhelming. Sharing a story about someone else dying can help to explain things in a less frightening way, and cuddling up with a book can be very comforting for both grown-up and child.

The Other Side of You by Salley Vickers

There is no cure for being alive.' Thus speaks Dr David McBride, a psychiatrist for whom death exerts an unusual draw. As a young child he witnessed the death of his six-year-old brother and it is this traumatic event which has shaped his own personality and choice of profession. One day a failed suicide, Elizabeth Cruikshank, is admitted to his hospital. She is unusually reticent and it is not until he recalls a painting by Caravaggio that she finally yields up her story.

We learn of Elizabeth Cruikshank's dereliction of trust, and the man she has lost, through David's narration. As her story unfolds, David finds his own life being touched by a sense that the 'other side' of his elusive patient has a strange resonance for him, too.

Set partly in Rome, ‘The Other Side of You’ explores the theme of redemption through love and art, which has become a hallmark of Salley Vickers's acclaimed work, which includes ‘Mr Golightly's Holiday’ and ‘Miss Garnet’s Angel’.

Pure by Andrew Miller

year of bones, of grave-dirt, relentless work. Of mummified corpses and chanting priests. A year of rape, suicide, sudden death. Of friendship too. Of desire. Of love... A year unlike any other he has lived. Deep in the heart of Paris, its oldest cemetery is, by 1785, overflowing, tainting the very breath of those who live nearby. Into their midst comes Jean-Baptiste Baratte, a young, provincial engineer charged by the king with demolishing it.

At first Baratte sees this as a chance to clear the burden of history, a fitting task for a modern man of reason. But before long, he begins to suspect that the destruction of the cemetery might be a prelude to his own.

Even the Dogs by Jon McGregor

On a cold, quiet day between Christmas and the New Year, a man's body is found in an abandoned apartment. His friends look on, but they're dead, too. Their bodies found in squats and sheds and alleyways across the city. Victims of a bad batch of heroin, they're in the shadows, a chorus keeping vigil as the hours pass, paying their own particular homage as their friend's body is taken away, examined, investigated, and cremated. All of their stories are laid out piece by broken piece through a series of fractured narratives. We meet Robert, the deceased, the only alcoholic in a sprawling group of junkies; Danny, just back from uncomfortable holidays with family, who discovers the body and futilely searches for his other friends to share the news of Robert's death; Laura, Robert's daughter, who stumbles into the junkie’s life when she moves in with her father after years apart; Heather, who has her own place for the first time since she was a teenager; Mike, the Falklands War vet; and all the others. Theirs are stories of lives fallen through the cracks, hopes flaring and dying, love overwhelmed by a stronger need, and the havoc wrought by drugs, distress, and the disregard of the wider world. These invisible people live in a parallel reality, out of reach of basic creature comforts, like food and shelter. In their sudden deaths, it becomes clear, they are treated with more respect than they ever were in their short lives.

Requiem for a Wren by Nevil Shute

About the book Janet Prentice is a former Wren who fell in love during the war. The death of her fiance and her hope clouds her future, even when World War II is over. Tragically, her self-destructive urges take her further towards despair. Reviewed by Goodworth Clatford The story pivots around the accidental killing of… Continue reading Requiem for a Wren by Nevil Shute

Everyman by Philip Roth

About the book From the author of 'The Plot Against America', 'Everyman' is a painful human story of the regret and stoicism of a man who becomes what he does not want to be. The terrain of this savagely sad novel is the human body, and its subject is the common experience that terrifies us… Continue reading Everyman by Philip Roth