Kat's Reviews > The Grief of Others

The Grief of Others by Leah Hager Cohen
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's review
Feb 17, 2012

really liked it

This is one of my favourite types of novel: a contemporary story, told from multiple perspectives, with compleling complex characters. I always thought that this type of book was called a novel of manners, but, when I looked up the definition, maybe not. In any case this is a fine example of such a novel, whatever its genre might be called.
It starts out with a heart-breaking description of the short life (57 hours) of Simon Ryrie, who is born without a brain stem. So you think maybe the hard part, the sad part is over. Not so much. The book is about the baby's parents' and their two older children's grief and mourning. There are complications in the form of two new-comers who join the family for a while and whose presence helps the Ryries recover.
I don't want to give the impression that the book is unbearably sad: it mostly isn't, other than that first part. The novel jumps back and forth in time, presenting some of the back-stories which help explain the characters actions. I found it very moving and authentic.
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