The language of grief:
Four books that will change how you read about loss

Ken Berry

Ken Berry

Lorraine asserted in this widely quoted and well-received review article that recent writers have worked to create a new "language of grief." Drawing both on personal experience of loss, as well as a wide-ranging knowledge of the literature of grieving, Lorraine reviewed four recent books that each incorporated ways of speaking of what it is like to grieve. The article was excerpted and featured by a number of literary websites, including Literary Hub, The Millions, and Poets & Writers. The article sparked a number of blog pieces and articles referring to writing about grieving across the Internet.

An excerpt: "When my father died in June of 2013, I wrote in my journal about how frustrated I was that at the moment I needed language to work for me, it deserted me. Words, language, the connective tissue between me and the world, had broken down, just as my father’s body was breaking down.

Unable to write, I once again turned to reading. In 2006, the first time I had experienced a significant loss, the grief literature had comprised the memoirs by Joan Didion and C.S. Lewis. Joseph Luzzi cites Didion in his new memoir, “In a Dark Wood: What Dante Taught Me About Grief, Healing, and the Mysteries of Love” (HarperWave, 2015). “I had left the house at eight thirty; by noon, I was a widower and a father,” he writes. While Luzzi was teaching a morning class at Bard College, his wife, Katherine, heavily pregnant with the couple’s first child, pulled out into traffic and caused a terrible accident. Shortly after an emergency C-section brought daughter Isabel into the world, Katherine died during brain surgery."

Read the full article here.