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The Language of Dying by Sarah Pinborough

The Language of Dying (2009)

by Sarah Pinborough

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The Language of Dying by Sarah Pinborough was a book that seemed to be fantastic and that a lot of my friends on Goodreads ( and other readers there) love. However, now and then am I the odd one out because this book didn't do a thing for me. I kept on expecting for the moment to show up when I would get enthralled and get sucked into the story, but it never happened.

Instead, it just dragged on, and this is not a thick book, only 144 pages long, but it felt like it took forever to get to the end. I just couldn't connect with the character nor the story. The fantasy aspect of the story was also a big failure. Instead of being mysterious and intriguing it was just odd and felt out of place. I wonder if the book and worked better if one had gotten to know the characters better if the story had been more developed. Now instead it feels like you get a quick introduction to each of the siblings, but you never really get to know them or care for them or their father.

Now, this is just my humble opinion, it's a well-loved book and perhaps it will work better for you.

I want to thank the publisher for providing me with a free copy through NetGalley for an honest review! ( )
  MaraBlaise | May 19, 2019 |
5 siblings are coming home to spend the final moments with their father when he is dying. The unnamed narrator is the middle child who stayed home to care for his father after his diagnosis with cancer. When she informs her siblings that their father has mere days left, they finally come back home when they can no longer postpone it. They all have their own ways coping and it causes drifts between them.

The story bounces between past and present while we follow narrator’s relationship with her father and her siblings. We learn how the family slowly drifted apart after their mother left them.

I didn’t get the magical aspects of the story. When she was a child she saw something. And she sees it again as an adult. Was it real or was she just imagining it? Was it supposed to have some bigger meaning? I don’t get it.

Despite that, I really liked this. It’s short book, more like a novella, and while sad I had to know what happens next. ( )
  Elysianfield | Feb 21, 2017 |
This short novel is a curious beast. Its author is better known for her horror fiction and yet this is a story fully grounded in real life: in one of those two life-events we all share. Its narrator is a young woman who cares for her dying father in his last fight against cancer and, with stark honesty, lays out the pain and very earthly horror of the final days. It isn’t an easy read, but its power is astonishing...

For the rest of the review, please see my blog:
https://theidlewoman.net/2016/12/03/the-language-of-dying-sarah-pinborough/ ( )
  TheIdleWoman | Dec 3, 2016 |
"This is just the end. It isn't the everything of you. And it's the everything we'll remember when the memory of this fades."

In Sarah Pinborough's The Language of Dying a woman cares for her father as his cancer devours him during the last hours of his life. She reflects on how her family has never been quite 'right,' quite normal - and though she has been surrounded by her siblings during the past week of grief, irony, anger, and pain-tinged laughter that engulfs moments like bright flaring flame, the weight of her father's passing and his wishes rest firmly on her shoulders. She has been the caretaker, the witness to his quietus - his last lasts. As her father fades in a morphine sleep, she looks at the dysfunction of their family and examines her role as 'the drifter' of the clan. The drifter that was pulled home, that watches at the window for a dark Something that has always come during the storms of her life. Her father is ending, her family ties crumbling, as she can taste the acridity of grief on her tongue, so she can taste Its arrival.

"Because it's one of those nights, isn't it Dad? A special terrible night. A full night. And that's always when it comes. If it comes at all."

Pinborough's novella is sharply poignant, grim, and beautifully written. It is an immensely moving look at the nature of a family and the exigencies of endings. As Neil Gaiman writes, "a beautiful story, honestly told."

I received a copy of The Language of Dying as an ARC through NetGalley. I'd like to thank NetGalley, Jo Fletcher Books, and Sarah Pinborough for the opportunity to read and review this book. ( )
  lamotamant | Sep 22, 2016 |
The Language of Dying was not what I expected of Sarah Pinborough, whom I consider to be primarily a horror/dark fantasy author. While there is a very slight supernatural element, The Language of Dying is essentially a one-sided conversation between the narrator and her dying father, whose care she has assumed without any real assistance from her sister and three brothers. She recounts various incidents from their shared history, and we witness her oh-so-polite interactions with those siblings as they return to say their brief goodbyes to the man who raised them after their mother abandoned the family.

Pinborough has dedicated her book to "Nick, a good friend, much missed" and describes it in her acknowledgements as "this little book, which means so much to me," leading me to wonder whether it was written as an outlet for her grief over her friend's death. There is no denying the sincerity and depth of feeling, the elegiac tone, portrayed here, and readers looking for such a book will appreciate The Language of Dying. Don't expect much, though, from "the thing she saw out in the fields all those years ago . . . the thing that they found her screaming for outside in the mud"; it has only a walk-on part.

I received a free copy of The Language of Dying from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. ( )
  BrandieC | Aug 9, 2016 |
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"A deeply moving novella about about the ways we process the pain and terror of the imminent death of a parent"--

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