Tuesday Intro: The Language of Dying by Sarah Pinborough

Once again I’m linking up again with Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea who hosts a post every Tuesday for people to share the first chapter / paragraph of the book they are reading, or thinking of reading soon.

tuesdayI’m also joining in with Teaser Tuesday, hosted by The Purple Booker, where you share teasers from your current read. I read a lot of these posts over the course of an average Tuesday so thought it would be fun to join in here too.

As you’ll know if you spend any time on my blog, I have a thing for covers and am often guilty of picking books for what they look like before I even know what they are about.  There is a bit of that here, with my latest pick, but more than that it was the title.  I just couldn’t resist as soon as I saw it on the library shelf….A woman sits at her father’s bedside, watching the clock tick away the last hours of his life. Her brothers and sisters–she is the middle child of five–have all turned up over the past week to pay their last respects. Each is traumatized in his or her own way, and the bonds that unite them to each other are fragile–as fragile perhaps as the old man’s health.

With her siblings all gone, back to their self-obsessed lives, she is now alone with the faltering wreck of her father’s cancer-ridden body. It is always at times like this when it–the dark and nameless, the impossible, presence that lingers along the fringes of the dark fields beyond the house–comes calling.

As the clock ticks away in the darkness, she can only wait for it to find her, a reunion she both dreads and aches for… 

And here’s how it starts…

“There is a language to dying.  It creeps like a shadow alongside the passing years and the taste of it hides in the corners of our mouths.  It finds us whether we are sick of healthy.  It is a secret hushed thing that lives in the whisper of the nurses’ skirts as they rustle up and down our stairs.  They’ve taught me to face the language one syllable at a time, slowly creating an unwilling meaning.”

And here are some teasers…

“Tonight the music can’t drown out the rage and our mother shrieks her tantrum, all the words becoming one animal howl through the plaster of the ceiling. My heart is beating fast in my chest, discordant with the record and with the row.” (page 25)

“It feels warm and humid in the kitchen after being in the clear, crisp air outside and I can feel my cheeks burning. There is a throb of energy at the heart of the family as we laugh and hug.”  (page 85)

What do you think – would you keep on reading?

Emma x


  1. I would continue to read, I have had a similar experience with my late dad so this book resonates with my experience. Would love to read more on how the family coped with his struggle and death.


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