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on 8 December 2017
The Language of Dying isn’t quite what I expected. It’s a story of a messed up family, each child with their own baggage, brought together for the first time in years because the patriarch is on his death bed. Our main character is the primary carer for her cancer riddled dad and as the doctors are calling time on his life, she calls her big sister, the first of the siblings to return to the family home. As we meet the family, we uncover the problems that this fragmented family is dealing with; domestic abuse, substance abuse, mental health and broken relationships.

As I said, it’s not quite what I expected. I hadn’t read any of Ms Pinborough’s books before but having seen the hype surrounding her most recent novel “Behind Her Eyes”, I thought I would start with this novella. Even though it’s not what I’d call a psychological thriller, it is definitely a dark story and I was left stunned by the end of my reading experience. The writing style totally drew me in and I was there with the family going through this morbid situation.

If you’ve read “Behind Her Eyes”, please do not judge this novel on that book. It is something different.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 29 May 2017
This is the third book I have read now by this author and I have to say it's very different to the other books I have read by her. I mean that in a good way.

Being a novella this is a really quick read. I wouldn't say it was an easy one though. It deals with some really dark subjects like domestic abuse and death.

In a way you could say I am quite lucky. The closest people I have lost so far have been my grand parents. Even though I saw them when they were dying, I wasn't in such close contact as the main character in this story. To be there constantly day in, day out watching a loved one dying must be extremely hard. It made me think of what would happen when it comes to my own parents dying so as you can imagine it was quite emotional to say the least.

In a way I think this book prepares you for the inevitable. It also shows how people deal with death differently and how it can bring people together or tear them apart.

A different but interesting read that will no doubt take readers out of their comfort zone.
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on 13 September 2017
I am very much in two minds about this book and am not sure what to totally make of it. The concept of the story may not be to everyone's taste, but it's a concept everyone in life eventually has to deal with - death.

The main character is dealing with her father's terminal cancer. Having recently divorced she is the one of five children who returns to the family home to take care of him. However, as well as having to deal with her father's illness she is also going through depression from her divorce which she keeps hidden from other family members. The way the author deals with depression is quite intriguing. A very interesting short read.
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on 20 June 2017
A very raw emotional read.

This story is written beautiful and spares no shame in it beautiful honesty, having watched it from both a personal and a professional stand point, I feel this is a very rue account of watching some you love be ravaged by a terminal illness becoming but a shadow of their previous selves.

But also being the by stander watching it all happening unable to control at what rate or how long, on the edge of a special kind of madness between emotions and thought.

I don't really know what I can say to do this book the justice it deserves particularly on what is still very much seen as a 'Taboo' topic.

Better to the let the book speak for itself.
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on 8 September 2013
This is a superb novella by the always delightful Sarah Pinborough -- when she's not writing dark fantasy horror and assorted other nastiness, of course. And despite its diminutive page count (just 88 page), Sarah is a master storyteller, and imbues all her characters (especially the narrator herself who is never really referred to by name) with a genuine sense of 'the real'... Most of this tale reads as that of a love-letter to a dying man (the narrator's father) from the one daughter that genuinely seems to have a 'connection' with him, whilst the rest of the family (five siblings in all) bring their own unique character to the inevitable bickering and squabbling that surrounds such an unsavoury gathering. The characters are real, the sense of foreboding and misery more than tangible, and the brilliant writing all-pervading -- another excellent piece of work to add to her burgeoning haul... read it.
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on 31 May 2017
This book was amazing. Absolutely amazing.
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on 5 December 2016
The Language Of Dying is a novella with a simple plot: five siblings gather at the house of their dying father, and the bonds between them weaken as their father’s body slowly fails in the room upstairs. Meanwhile, the unnamed narrator of the tale is waiting anxiously for the reappearance of the a fabulous beast she has seen outside of the window on other occasions of stress and trial... It's a powerful, at times difficult read, that doesn't flinch from the realities of a slow, drawn-out death that, let's face it, we're far more likely to end up facing than the gruesome deaths of most horror or crime fiction.

The beauty of the story (and it is beautiful) lies in its telling; it’s one of those books where you read an amazingly crafted, punchy sentence and think that you must remember it, only to read an even better sentence a few lines down that makes you forget the first one, and then you forget that one as you read yet another beautiful sentence on the next page... and so on. As befits the title, this is a book about words as much as about death. About how our words die, too.

In the end, this is a book that pulls off that magic trick that only fiction can do: reminding us of the universal by telling us of the specific. Quite simply, one of the most best books I've ever read.
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on 13 January 2017
Normally I wouldn't recommend reading something so tragic and painful as the slow demise of a Father (and in some respects of a family itself) in public. However there were several moments during the reading of The Language of Dying in which I was blissfully relieved that the pressures of being in public view were there - to stop me from falling apart altogether and bursting into tears.

This isn't an easy read. The slow and agonizing degeneration of the Father, told with brutal honesty, was starkly portrayed. It's difficult not to get completely caught up in the horror of it all - letting your mind wander over terrible images and the thought of the finite nature of our time in this world. Perhaps this is what also made this book a kind of morbid beauty - decaying and yet doing so with a wincing kind of elegance.

Death is the tie that binds them and yet there is more to The Language of Dying than that - a family of five very different siblings are brought together not only to face the imminent loss of their parent but also to confront once again the startling dissimilarities among themselves. Pinborough writes the brothers and sisters as if they were a shattered mirror - once part of a whole but now nothing but a pile of jagged, ill fitting pieces.

This is only for the brave. But if you can screw your courage to the sticking place then this is definitely a worthy read.
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on 6 July 2016
First Impression: Sarah Pinborough is a bit of a mainstay on Always Trust In Books. SP's work ranges from cruel to heartfelt and I have a lot of time for her. I have read Death House and 2 of the 3 Dog Faced God books and I enjoy the writing style, approach and variety that SP brings to every page. This is a book not to be toyed with, as a person who hasn't lost anyone close to them in his life, this scared the hell out of me. I feel for all those who went through the circumstances shared in this book and I certainly do not know how you feel.

Summary Of The Book:

A woman is losing her father. The man who raised her and her siblings. Kept her on the straight and narrow even as his own life was falling apart. The man who loved her and protected her when her mother left suddenly one night. He was not perfect but he means the world to her.

Her father is dying and she has to say a proper goodbye. She surrounds herself with family and tries to put on a brave face. Underneath there is darkness, pain and all the other emotions people try and hide for others while the life they knew ends and a new one begins.

She learns that there is a language of the dying. It is cruel, clinical and doesn't represent what is really happening. Come and share her story, her pain, grief and her final goodbye and her eventual release.

My Review:

First off I need to say something. I have not lost anyone really close to me. I am 25 and I still have all my family, so I don't know what it like to go through anything that is shared within these pages. Though it is classed as fiction, millions go through this every year and Sarah Pinborough treats the scenario with all the respect it deserves.

This is a story about the end of life. It is a truly emotional account from the daughter of a dying man. The woman shares this tale in the format of updates to her father at his bedside, along with personal thoughts and experiences. There is not much wrong with this book, it is a story that needs to be told. The Language Of The Dying is a swift, haunting and emotional insight to the death of a loved one and the fragility of relationships between family members.

We are taken on a journey by an unknown woman. She lives with her dying father and is sharing in every breath, cough, sickness and painful moment that he goes through. This situation brings her long split up family to her doorstep and reignited their once appreciated bond as family. What the reader gets in this scenario is moments of happiness, moments of sadness. moments of pain, moments of anger and moments of disbelief.

There are many themes present in these insightful pages. Some relevant to those who have lost and definitely some to those who lose in the future. The main theme is that of dying (shown in the form of the father). SP uses this theme to the best of her ability and crafts a story that will make you think about how you act around your family and what you take for granted. The other main theme is family (shown in the form of the daughter). SP takes us through the journey of this girl/lady and all her experiences, of family, of death and of overall loss.

I did have a few issues with this book. I don't like it when authors kill children off to engineer extra depth of emotion to a character. It is only a personal qualm as I am a father. I also know that authors write about these things out of personal experience, so it is really an issue of my experience over actual inclusion of this subject matter. I also thought the animal in the night portion of this book was not explored enough. I know the theory is less is more, but when it is intriguing....more is better!

At the basis of this book, SP is trying to get us to think...What is it really like to lose everything? No more reading, no more eating, no more breathing, no more existence. We only really know when it happens, but Sarah Pinborough tries her best to at least convey any number of the complicated elements that come with the end. SP does a hauntingly, beautiful and effective job of telling this tale.


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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 17 December 2016
The Language of Dying by Sarah Pinborough was a book that seemed to be fantastic and that a lot of my friends on Goodreads ( and other readers there) love. However, now and then am I the odd one out because this book didn't do a thing for me. I kept on expecting for the moment to show up when I would get enthralled and get sucked into the story, but it never happened.

Instead, it just dragged on, and this is not a thick book, only 144 pages long, but it felt like it took forever to get to the end. I just couldn't connect with the character nor the story. The fantasy aspect of the story was also a big failure. Instead of being mysterious and intriguing it was just odd and felt out of place. I wonder if the book and worked better if one had gotten to know the characters better if the story had been more developed. Now instead it feels like you get a quick introduction to each of the siblings, but you never really get to know them or care for them or their father.

Now, this is just my humble opinion, it's a well-loved book and perhaps it will work better for you.

I chose to read this ARC and all opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased!
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