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Late Fragments: Everything I Want to Tell You (About This Magnificent Life) Hardcover – 26 Dec 2014

4.6 out of 5 stars 245 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: William Collins (26 Dec. 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0008103453
  • ISBN-13: 978-0008103453
  • Product Dimensions: 13.8 x 2.4 x 20.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (245 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 101,390 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


‘The most honest, beautiful, heart wrenching and eye opening book I’ve ever read. I will keep reminding myself of Kate Gross’s words and her story’ Fearne Cotton

‘Raw, honest, yet unexpectedly positive … A warm and oddly uplifting read. Gross is funny in the darkest moments of truth. Neither falsely upbeat nor purposefully dramatic or tear-jerking, the book brings Gross to life’ Independent

‘Shows you how to live life to the brim … boy, does [Kate’s] writing have pulse. Clear-sighted and cold-eyed, her sentences are light as leaves and she was as wise as a magi … When [her twins] wonder about their mother, here she will be, bold and brave, caught on the page in all her wonderful vitality’ Mail on Sunday, 5*

‘This book could make you rethink the way you live your whole life … there is a sense of wonder, a determination to live and love with her whole heart in the little time [Gross] has left … Funny and sharp and celebratory’ Sunday Express, 5*

‘A joyful act of love … witty, always serious, but rarely solemn. Her prose is grounded, unshowy and blessed with a casual poetry … To read this book is to learn what can be snatched back from death … it is vividly, beautifully alive’ Robert Webb, New Statesman

‘It is extremely difficult to write on this subject evocatively, but without sentimentality … [Kate] treats herself as a case study, a bystander with a story to tell. The effect is readable, engaging and enriching … To do that as your final act is amazing’ Daily Telegraph 5*

‘Gross writes with steadfast, exquisite skill and although this remarkable book is hard to get through without a box of hankies, it is also one of the most galvanising you are likely to read all year – READ IT AND LEAP’ Metro

‘With her lucid prose and piercing perception she is as much of a loss to the world of literature as she is to politics … Should be mandatory reading for every adult, urging them to fight the human impulse to take life in all its richness for granted’ Daily Express 5*

About the Author

Kate Gross was 36 years old when she died from colon cancer on Christmas day at her home in Cambridge. Before her cancer, Kate read English at Oxford University. She joined the civil service and worked in Number 10 Downing Street for Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. On leaving, she set up the Africa Governance Initiative, a charity which works to rebuild structures of Government in post-conflict Africa. She was awarded an OBE in 2014 for her work. She blogged about her cancer at and wrote there in more medical detail than she does in her book which is almost entirely free of any medical jargon or writing on the nature of cancer. It is a book instead about life. She is survived by her husband Billy and their five year old sons Isaac and Oscar.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought this book having read lots of Kate's blog posts and newspaper articles. I read it in one sitting. It is a beautifully written, moving and important book. Far from being a 'misery memoir' it is instead a powerful celebration of life. Today is 3rd January and yet I suspect this will be one of the best books I read in 2015.

I did not know Kate but her strong voice and insightful words will stay with me. So sorry to her family for their loss.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Kate Gross' memoir is beautiful, inspiring, poetic, simple and honest. I did not know Kate personally, but the woman who speaks through the pages of her book is truly remarkable - not so much for her achievements (though they were many) but for her humanity, her honesty, her intelligence, her compassion and her wit (yes, you will laugh at times reading this book!) These are the gifts she leaves to the world through her beautifully crafted words. It is not really about dying - it is about how to live and how to love and I believe everyone should read it. My heart goes out to her family.
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By Sid Nuncius #1 HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on 12 Aug. 2015
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This is a good book. It is well written, thoughtful and well worth reading by anyone involved in any way with terminal disease. Kate Gross manages to talk honestly about aspects of her life, her cancer ("The Nuisance") and her impending death largely without sentimentality and sometimes with great perceptiveness.

I find it almost impossible to review this book in any great depth for two reasons. One is that it seems almost unbearably inhuman to criticise anything at all about such a sincere and un-self-pitying account. The other is that I have had far, far too much experience of this sort of thing, including my beloved sister dying of cancer in very similar circumstances. Objective analysis is therefore very difficult and, to be honest, far too painful, but as a brief personal perspective:

A lot of the book is readable, thoughtful and touching. I didn't find all of it brilliant - having terminal cancer does not automatically grant someone superhuman wisdom - but Kate Gross was already a thoughtful, intelligent woman before her cancer and she offers some very good reflections and insights. One section that I thought was especially good was the brief passage about what Kate wanted from people supporting her. She acknowledges that people often don't know what to do and lays out very frank and sensible rules and advice. Examples include: offer help, then "offer again in six months time because the chances are that that is the point at which everyone else will have stopped offering help", or "Remember this is not about *you*. The point is not to burnish your halo, but to help." Oh, yes.

She also says things I don't agree with, like "There's really nothing you can say that will make things worse, after all.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am lucky to be able to say I knew Kate Gross - but only from the very, very outer reaches of the spiral. I've been devouring everything she's written since being diagnosed, blown away by her power and grasp of language and ability to communicate the most profound of thoughts so clearly, so eloquently. Late Fragments takes her message to another level, and beautifully, positively, gracefully, illustrates the meaning of life. I already feel the tangible impact Kate's message has had on me: it's as though I've discovered I hold the Golden Ticket. I will be sending a copy to all in my own `coven' of friends to remind us to embrace the everyday, and to forever be grateful that we are beloved. Thank you, Kate, for your parting gift, and all my love to those nearest and dearest to her.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I wasn't sure whether or not this was a book I should read. I am also 36 with a son of nearly 6, and I lost my own mother at a young age to cancer, so I was worried that this may be too close to home for me. However I was so taken by the words of Kate's mother, which I came across accidentally on-line, explaining the passing of her daughter in a language that was so brave, that I bought the book. How wrong I was to be apprehensive, this is an inspirational book of huge magnitude. Firstly it is beautifully written, Kate was a wordsmith of the English language, and I loved the way she weaved in pieces from books and poems that had given her strength during her illness. Secondly, I really related to her, early television training, buying the wrong baby gadgets that prove to be useless including buggys as she did, making Optimus prime, building lego, having a strong social conscience that forces you off the fence, the desire for a career, "knowing your own happiness", and being a 'mean girl' sometimes. In Kate's short life, she has lived a hundred lives compared to mine of equal years, she makes me want to visit Africa, to swim in rivers, to stop and find my still moment in the day, to read books, to leave a legacy, to pay that little more attention to my children but to be content in being that blur in the background in their memory bank. Thank you Kate for being generous enough to share your insight, I am savouring all of your pearls of wisdom.
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Format: Hardcover
The Last Word Review
Kate Gross's memoir is a book about how to live and when you read this it will leave a mark on you that you will carry like a torch to guide you through your own life. ‘’Late Fragments’ is a book that is poetic and beautiful.
Kate lived a life that many can only dream of joining the Civil Service and entering Downing Street through the Black Door of No. 10 working for two Prime Ministers Tony Blair and Gordon Brown and then setting up a Charity with Tony Blair (African Governance Initiative) travelling the World meeting Presidents and Prime Ministers raising Money and awareness for AGI and for Peace and Reconciliation in parts of Africa torn apart by War. Awarded the OBE in 2014 for her work.
As you read through the book Kate shares her life with you, as she starts out on life's journey, how she met the love of her life Billy Boyle (The best looking man she's has ever kissed), entering the World of the Civil Service and life as aide to two Prime Ministers and then setting up the Charity alongside Tony Blair who is Patron Kate would then become CEO at the age of thirty and her twin boys Oscar and Isaac. Ultimately this book is a memoir, as Kate was diagnosed with advanced Colon Cancer in October 2012, and set about writing a daily blog as a gift to herself and prove she could still 'create'. The last entry is titled 'The Last Post' entered by Kate's Mother.
What Kate gives to the World is a book that is a brave, frank and honest, as well as moving, there is humour here that comes through.
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