REVIEW: The Language of Dying by Sarah Pinborough

Hey! It’s been forever since I’ve updated this blog, but I’ve been crazy busy with college-work and preparing to go to university in September! But I’ve wanted to come back to the book-blogging world so I thought I’d kick it off with a review of my most recent read. This review is from my Goodreads, if you feel like following my more in-the-moment reading and reviewing then click here.

*I give this book 3.5 stars.*

The Language Of Dying is a book about death; we follow the inner monologue of a woman who’s father is dying and throughout the book we see her interact with her dysfunctional and distant siblings as they all converge together to prepare for their fathers passing.

I felt that the narrative’s pacing was done very well, the plot did not linger too much on the flashbacks or more uneventful parts of the story however it did accurately depict the slow-moving sense that is common in this scenario. The thing that I enjoyed the most in the novel was the raw way that Pinborough showed the difficulties that a convergence of family members, that do not necessarily see eye-to-eye or get on with each other, in an emotional and tense time such as the death of a parent can bring. I found this to be an extremely accurate and honest depiction of a situation such as this, which really aligned with my own personal experience.

One thing that I did not really enjoy however was the sub-plot of the supernatural/hallucinatory experience the protagonist goes through throughout the story. For me it was just a tad too abstract and whilst I understood the possible significance of the sub-plot itself and where it may have derived from it did not bring much to the novel itself. I have read other books surrounding death and grief that use similar abstract themes-such as Grief is the Thing with Feathers by Max Porter-where it truly adds to the impact of the story and it’s relevance is much clearer, I feel that The Language of Dying’s story was not much benefited from this and it would not have made a negative impact by being left out.

Overall however I did enjoy the book, the language and writing style used by Pinborough was beautiful and the novel’s themes and subject were subtle and insightful. I would definitely recommend and I will be interested to pick up more of Pinborough’s work in the future.

Tom Xx

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