Grief Is The Thing With Feathers by Max Porter

I’m starting off Blogtober 2016 with this beautiful allegory on death and grief by Max Porter. I’ve plotted out the entire month so that every post links seamlessly  and allegories and death are apparently what I’m rather cheerfully starting off with.

I’ve had my eye on Grief Is The Thing With Feathers since it came out in hardback last year, but I didn’t get round to buying it until fairly recently, in paperback. It’s a very short read, more of a novella than a novel. I’d even go further and say it was more of an extended prose poem.

The story deals with three points of view; a man grieving the loss of his wife; the combined narration of his two young sons and the crow that comes to help them deal with their pain. To me, and I appreciate I may be wrong, Crow felt like the personification of a combination of Dad’s depression, the boy’s new found rebellion in the face of losing a parent and the work that keeps Dad obsessed while he grieves. I loved the manic, distracted voice of Crow; it made the quiet nostalgia and monitors of Dad and the Boys seem even more poignant.

I will be honest, I feel like I would have got more out of Grief Is The Thing With Feathers had I had a previous knowledge of Ted Hughes poetry. That’s not to say I couldn’t understand what was going on, but that it would have informed how I read it I think. I might have even imagined Crow’s character completely differently.

Some bits were painful and hit quite close to home, others were darkly funny. I also now want to read all of Ted Hughes poetry.

I’m blogging every day in October for Blogtober.


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