Book Reviews





The Language of Dying - review

Forty next birthday and I’m looking out of the window for something that may be imaginary, that I haven’t seen in fifteen years, if ever I saw it at all.
But it’s one of those nights, isn’t it, Dad? A special, terrible night. A full night. And that’s always when it comes.
If it comes at all.”

Title: The Language of Dying
Author: Sarah Pinborough

Publisher: Jo Fletcher Books
Source: ARC via Jo Fletcher Books
Buy it:December 5th 2013


In the house she grew up in, full of dark and varied memories, a woman sits at the bedside of her dying father, awaiting the arrival of her siblings to make their final goodbyes. As she recounts the times shared, she is haunted by the recollection of a terrifying and wondrous vision she has seen twice before... and tonight she feels she may see it once more.


First of all, I have to mention that the cover of The Language of Dying is one of the most beautiful on my bookshelf. When I got it, I couldn't help but touch it and admire the intricacy - it's so lovely. Secondly, I was surprised to see how short The Language of Dying is. It's definitely a quick read, but not, as you may assume, an easy one.

The writing in this novel(la) is absolutely gorgeous. Simple yet poetic, the words are considered, measured and perfect. The narrative deals with hard and uncomfortable themes of death, terminal illness, sibling resentment, alcohol abuse, domestic abuse and depression and yet they are delivered in such a way as to float into you, leave their mark and disintegrate into the all-encompassing "alltime" that is the present in this book.

I truly felt like I experienced something with the characters of The Language of Dying. Each of the siblings arrive at the house carrying their own burdens and dysfunction - and each of them are allowed to crumble or strengthen when their concoction of experience is entangled with death. I was reminded a lot of the character dynamics in books such as The Secret History and The House At Midnight, and the atmosphere was taught and oppressive, which will feel similar to anyone who has read the other novels.

The fantasy element of the book was stunning. I won't spoil the book, but will say the climatic ending gave me goosebumps.


Everything about the experience of reading this book was wholly enjoyable. It felt innocent despite the despair and I only wish it could have been longer!



  1. Agree about that cover - bloody gorgeous!

    This sounds like one of those books you just get lost in; because of the poetic writing, the enthralling plot, the gorgeously written characters ... it really sounds stunning :D

  2. It is, it really is - highly recommended!

    Thanks for stopping by :) x