The Language of Dying by Sarah Pinborough

The language of dyingThe Language of Dying is one of those books I saw at the library and picked up for he cover alone. Then I realised it was written by Sarah Pinborough, who I haven’t read but I know has written other books other bloggers have loved.  I had high hopes, hopes which were originally met – at least for the first half of the short book (it’s only 131 pages).

It starts with a woman – whose name we never get to know (or if we did, I missed it) – sitting by the bed of her dying father.  She is alone, thinking back over her life and how she has ended up where she is, and waiting for her brothers and sisters to arrive to say their final goodbyes.

I found this bit so well written and the language, whilst it might have been about dying, was beautiful.  The thoughts going through the woman’s head, her inner monologue as her family arrives and she thinks back on their childhood and move into adulthood and how, somewhere along the way, it all went wrong for them, completely drew me in.  I was convinced that I had found a perfect book for me.

Then, unfortunately, just as quickly as I had loved the book, I was bored.  I felt like I was reading the same thoughts and feelings, which is probably a fair reflection of what happens when you are at someone’s side as they die but didn’t make for compelling reading.  I started to skim the pages (meaning I probably ended up missing things) and wanting to get to the end.

After such a good start, it really is a shame.  It wouldn’t stop me reading other books by Sarah Pinborough but I can’t really recommend this one – sorry – but not for me.


About the book…

Tonight is a special terrible night.

A woman sits at her father’s bedside, watching the clock tick away the last hours of his life. Her brothers and sisters – all broken, their bonds fragile – have been there for the past week, but now she is alone.

And that’s when it always comes.

The clock ticks, the darkness beckons.

If it comes at all.

Source: Library
Publisher: Jo Fletcher Fiction
Number of pages: 131
Publication date: 5th December, 2015


Emma x


  1. Oh, how disappointing! It would also bother me that we never know the name of the narrator. I hate when that happens! LOL.

    Thanks for sharing. I liked the author’s previous book, Behind Her Eyes.


  2. Hm… a really difficult book to pull off – and it sounds as if she didn’t quite manage it – thank you for a great review, Emma. I have read one of her dark fantasy thrillers and it was very good, btw…


  3. That’s too bad that this one didn’t quite live up to its early potential. I’ve found that happens when the writing is really beautiful sometimes. It just ends up feeling a little monotonous. I think I’d like to try some of her books but this doesn’t sound like the one I want to start with.


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