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The Weight of Him Paperback – 1 Feb 2018
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Ethel Rohan shows herself to be one of those rare, courageous writers who dare to take on the 'ordinary' and show just how extraordinary it really is. A brave and moving book. -- John Banville The Weight of Him conjures all the grief and regret of a family who has suffered an insurmountable loss. Out of this burning sorrow rises Big Billy Brennan, a father who attempts the seemingly impossible - to change the world. Ethel Rohan captures a blend of comedy and tragedy that is entirely true to family, hometown, and our own private struggles. Poignant and inspiring. -- Eowyn Ivey, international bestselling author of THE SNOW CHILD Deeply moving and memorable. -- Roxane Gay Ethel Rohan is a writer of great courage and emotional intelligence. She can also tell a damn good story. The Weight of Him is about loss and about life. It is involving, terrifying and ultimately quite beautiful. -- Tom Barbash, author of STAY UP WITH ME Sweet and profound, true and honest, The Weight of Him is a book to make the world a better place. -- Elisabeth Gifford Extraordinary. -- Caroline Leavitt How can a story about death be so life affirming? Ethel Rohan's compassionate debut novel is sad, heartbreaking even, but also uplifting, a celebration of the determination to keep on trying. -- Bonnie Jo Campbell, author of MOTHERS, TELL YOUR DAUGHTERS The Weight of Him is an achingly sad, achingly lovely novel that speaks to the essential core of our shared human experience. I will not soon forget it. Ethel Rohan, a prodigiously skilled short story writer, has proved herself, in this debut novel, to be a master of the long form as well. -- Robert Olen Butler, author of PERFUME RIVER
About the Author
Ethel Rohan is the author of two story collections, Goodnight Nobody and Cut Through the Bone, the former longlisted for The Edge Hill Prize and the latter named a 2010 Notable Story Collection by The Story Prize. Winner of the 2013 Bryan MacMahon Short Story Award, and shortlisted for the CUIRT, Roberts, and Bristol Short Story Prizes, her work has or will appear in The New York Times, World Literature Today, PEN America, Tin House Online, The Irish Times, BREVITY Magazine, and The Rumpus, among many others. She has reviewed books for New York Journal of Books and elsewhere. Raised in Dublin, Ireland, Ethel lives in San Francisco where she is a member of The Writers' Grotto and PEN America.
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I loved how the author really captured the grief and despair that had hit the family - the unanswered questions as to why their son had chosen to take his own life, the trying to stay strong for their other children and how it affected the relationship between the parents and children. As Billy sets out on a quest to use his weight loss as a positive in raising funds and awareness for the awfully high suicide rates, he meets others along the way in similar positions and also tries to get his message out to the media of just how important awareness is, and not just to be seen as a freak show because of his weight issues. He wants to take control back.
His family doesn't always support him on his journey and you can understand the torment they must all be going through - some wanting to hide away and not to have anymore attention brought to them - and I loved how Billy finds solace in the broken toys he 'liberates' from work and how he finds that connection back to happier times with his son Michael.
The topics discussed in this book are sympathetically dealt with by the author and really captures the conflicting feelings that those grieving are often left with, while looking back on happier times that they shared with Michael and trying to understand why they couldn't help him. Was it something they'd done? Why didn't he talk to them? Why?
A very powerful and poignant story with a number of layers and I can highly recommend it
I really enjoyed getting to know Billy and understood his problems with eating. I loved the writing style and the feelings that this story brought to me. I loved how threw everything into prevention of suicide. A great must read for 2017.
I loved the character of Billy and how he was in a way punishing himself by dieting and exercising excessively instead of doing it sensibly. Each member of his family are trying to cope with the loss of Michael in their own different ways and Billy is not supported or encouraged in any way.
I loved the scenes in the garage where he has made a village of broken toys and uses them to represent his family and it is so moving and you feel the pain he is going through.
A really good read that represents the grief and pain of coping with suicide and also the isolation that being morbidly obese can cause.
Although his intentions are good he only has the support of his daughter Anna. His wife, the boys and his parents think him to be selfish by putting the families name out in public.
All while this is going on you still see the small things that they all do to hold on to the memory of Michael.
I found myself in tears by the end of this. Extremely moving. I most definitely recommend!
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