The Language of Dying by Sarah Pinborough
A woman sits beside her father’s bedside as the night ticks away the final hours of his life. As she watches over her father, she relives the past week and the events that brought the family together . . . and she recalls all the weeks before that served to pull it apart.
There has never been anything normal about the lives raised in this house. It seems to her that sometimes her family is so colourful that the brightness hurts, and as they all join together in this time of impending loss she examines how they came to be the way they are and how it came to just be her, the drifter, that her father came home to die with.
But, the middle of five children, the woman has her own secrets . . . particularly the draw that pulled her back to the house when her own life looked set to crumble. And sitting through her lonely vigil, she remembers the thing she saw out in the fields all those years ago . . . the thing that they found her screaming for outside in the mud. As she peers through the familiar glass, she can’t help but hope and wonder if it will come again.
Because it’s one of those night, isn’t it dad? A special terrible night. A full night. And that’s always when it comes. If it comes at all. (Goodreads)
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.
Published: Jo Fletcher B (December 1, 2016)