The Iceberg: A Memoir (Hardback)Marion Coutts (author)
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In 2008 the art critic Tom Lubbock was diagnosed with a brain tumour. The tumour was located in the area controlling speech and language, and would eventually rob him of the ability to speak. He died early in 2011. Marion Coutts was his wife.
In short bursts of beautiful, textured prose, Coutts describes the eighteen months leading up to her partner's death. This book is an account of a family unit, man, woman, young child, under assault, and how the three of them fought to keep it intact.
Written with extraordinary narrative force and power, The Iceberg is almost shocking in its rawness. It charts the deterioration of Tom's speech even as it records the developing language of his child. Fury, selfishness, grief, indignity and impotence are all examined and brought to light.
Yet out of this comes a rare story about belonging, an 'adventure of being and dying'. This book is a celebration of each other, friends, family, art, work, love and language.
Publisher: Atlantic Books
Number of pages: 304
Weight: 463 g
Dimensions: 216 x 156 x 26 mm
Extraordinary... Not quite like any other bereavement memoir... it reads like a huge juggernaut, its inevitable awful ending hurtling towards you at full speed from the first page... I defy anyone reading her account of their last Christmas together... not to be moved to tears. * Evening Standard *
Readers should be warned that sharing such a grief as closely as this marvellous book compels one to do is painful... This is a book that clearly had to be written... And certainly it ought to be read by anyone who ever pauses to consider our mortality. -- Diana Athill * Sunday Telegraph *
The writing is lyrical, textured, perfectly paced; the sentences short so that we feel Coutts's moments of panic, her quickened heartbeat... [A] startlingly beautiful and inspiring pioneer text * Independent *
She chooses her words with such beautiful scrupulousness, never twisting or turning the knife of her story to exact our pity or admiration; her thought is like sensation, her descriptions of feeling are often like notes for a visual work... Her book is a homage to an exceptional man; it's also the work of an exceptional woman artist, writing from the inside about the things women have always done: nursing, nurturing, loving. * Guardian *
Hey - want to uncontrollably weep your eyes out? Read Marion Coutts describing her husband dying of a brain tumour. * @caitlinmoran *
Marion Coutts has written a fierce love letter-cum-elegy in The Iceberg... This is far more than just another book about grief. -- Marina Warner * Observer *
The Iceberg is mesmerising, harrowing and radiant. There are times when to go on reading is almost unbearable, yet it is impossible to put it down. -- Cressida Connolly * Mail on Sunday *
It is a memoir quite unlike any other. It has the strength of an arrow: taut, spiked, quavering, working to its fatal conclusion... The Iceberg is an extraordinary story told in an extraordinary way. * The Sunday Times *
Coutts's prose is precise and compelling, lyrical and poised... This is not another memoir of overcoming loss and grief, but rather an exploration of consciousness. * Times Literary Supplement *
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