on 5 June 2012
This is a deeply moving memoir of a young man who finally couldn't cope with living. His mother, Libby Purves, has told his inner story using his own words as far as possible. This is a unique insight into the mind of a thoughtful, unusual, gentle, likeable person who suffered mental pain. As a reader I am grateful for this brave and sensitive memorial. I hope it helped his family to understand why he left them: I wish they had never had to lose him.
As another reviewer said, the "memoir of a young man who finally couldn't cope with living". This distresses me so much as I have some idea of what they write.
Although Nicholas Heiney's writings are very short, most of them are so very full of life and adventure that you would never ever think that here was a lad who would soon kill himself. At the same time, there are some dark words in some of his shorter passages.
The absolute best of his writings, to me, is when he describes his life on the Tall Ships. He went there as a proper crew member, no favours etc., granted just because he was the son of "famous" parents, and he took part in some of the major Tall Ships' Races. His descriptions are just like some old time seafarer from the 19th century trying to tell what it was like to be going aloft in good and bad weather and as an old seafarer myself - though never on Tall Ships! - his writings to me ring so very, very true.
And if anyone may be hesitating before purchasing this book, please read this legacy from Nicholas Heiney and I suspect you may immediately go ahead with your purchase, and you will be greatly rewarded:
"What is important is to remember that it is not the way in which we record our existence, but that we do record it. In the air, and everywhere around, we must remember how the streets ring out for every soul that thought and felt and passed through them in weakness and in strength."
Nicholas Heiney, your words are so true that I *know* your short written account of your even shorter life will most definitely live on and on, down through time, wherever and whenever true seamen talk of true sea tales. I thank you for that.
on 8 April 2013
As a mother, it has always been my hidden dread, that I might have to bear the death of a child. Especially such a beautiful soul as this. Pain is the price we pay for love. This writing, and the beautiful soul it both reveals and conceals, is pain's recompense.