Grief Cottage: A Novel

Grief Cottage: A Novel

by Gail Godwin


View All Available Formats & Editions
Eligible for FREE SHIPPING
  • Want it by Wednesday, October 24  Order now and choose Expedited Shipping during checkout.
    Same Day shipping in Manhattan. 
    See Details


Grief Cottage: A Novel by Gail Godwin

Publishers Weekly Best Books of 2017 (Top 10)

Chicago Public Library Best of the Best Books 2017

Indie Next Summer 2018 Pick For Reading Groups

The haunting tale of a desolate cottage, and the hair-thin junction between this life and the next, from bestselling National Book Award finalist Gail Godwin.

After his mother's death, eleven-year-old Marcus is sent to live on a small South Carolina island with his great aunt, a reclusive painter with a haunted past. Aunt Charlotte, otherwise a woman of few words, points out a ruined cottage, telling Marcus she had visited it regularly after she'd moved there thirty years ago because it matched the ruin of her own life. Eventually she was inspired to take up painting so she could capture its utter desolation.

The islanders call it "Grief Cottage," because a boy and his parents disappeared from it during a hurricane fifty years before. Their bodies were never found and the cottage has stood empty ever since. During his lonely hours while Aunt Charlotte is in her studio painting and keeping her demons at bay, Marcus visits the cottage daily, building up his courage by coming ever closer, even after the ghost of the boy who died seems to reveal himself. Full of curiosity and open to the unfamiliar and uncanny given the recent upending of his life, he courts the ghost boy, never certain whether the ghost is friendly or follows some sinister agenda.

Grief Cottage is the best sort of ghost story, but it is far more than that—an investigation of grief, remorse, and the memories that haunt us. The power and beauty of this artful novel wash over the reader like the waves on a South Carolina beach.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781632867056
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Publication date: 05/08/2018
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 110,210
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Gail Godwin is a three-time National Book Award finalist and the bestselling author of more than a dozen critically acclaimed books, including Publishing, a memoir, and the novels Flora, Father Melancholy's Daughter, and Evensong. She has received a Guggenheim Fellowship, National Endowment for the Arts grants for both fiction and libretto writing, and the Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She lives in Woodstock, New York.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

Grief Cottage 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Written in first person, touching and soulful as the story is, the author somehow makes you know that it is going to come out ok. It is unforgetable.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Beautiful imagery, complex characters. This is a book I'll read again to savor the writing.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Couldn't put it down...feel as tho I have always known the characters. Beautiful work.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Let go and enjoy Great book ,
SarahJoint More than 1 year ago
This is a solid piece of what I'd consider literary fiction. I've come to realise it's a genre I can really enjoy when I'm in the right mood to really immerse myself in a slow, atmospheric read that'll make you think. No doubt about it: this is a slow book that concentrates on the reader really getting to know the characters. It's very beautifully written and intelligent. It's not a long book, but read right it might take a little while to get through it. Absolutely not your typical ghost story, so don't go into it expecting many chills and thrills. (There are a couple of moments that gave me chills, but that's not the focus of the story.) Marcus is now an orphan. He never knew his father, and now his mother has been killed in an accident. It's sudden and brutal, leaving eleven year old Marcus at a loss. His mother was who he was closest to, enough so that he even faced some ribbing from his best friend about it. They were united, forging ahead though a life full of money troubles and crazy landladies. Now he's alone. Of course, he can't stay that way. He's soon entrusted into the care of his great aunt, an artist who lives on an island and enjoys a life of self-induced seclusion. She doesn't seem to enjoy other people as much as she enjoys wine and painting. Luckily for her, Marcus isn't your average eleven year old boy. He's very intelligent, respectful, tidy, and well-spoken. He's also capable of amusing himself, which is for the best as he and his aunt only share a meal a day with her painting alone most of the rest of the time, and school hasn't started yet. Made curious by a cottage that often features in her paintings, he launches a little investigation into what the locals call the "Grief Cottage". Two adults and a boy a few years older than Marcus disappeared from there during a hurricane fifty years ago. They're assumed washed away, a mere footnote without names in the town's history. Dealing with grief of his own, Marcus is drawn to the ramshackle place. Convinced he can feel a presence there, he returns to it again and again and even becomes convinced he's actually seen the ghost of that forgotten boy. This book is full of memorable characters, including Marcus and Charlotte and unlikely friends the boy makes. Towards the beginning of the book, he recalls something as how it was when he was a child. At only eleven, he is still very much a child. However, he speaks and acts far beyond his years so it makes sense that he would connect more with people far older than him. I have read quite a few three star reviews of this one, but it was very close to a five star read for me. I'm not sure if it just spoke to me more, or if it wasn't what those other readers were expecting. My final rating is a 4.5, rounded up. It's not the kind of book everyone will enjoy, but if you're in the right mood and have patience for it, it's a fantastic read. I received an ARC of this book from Net Galley and Bloomsbury USA, thank you! My review is honest and unbiased.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book went on and on and eventually nowhere.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a well crafted coming of age story of an orphaned boy told from his viewpoint, and filled with psychological insight. He goes to live with a distant aunt he's never met before, encounters a spirit of a boy dead for over 50 years, and explores the cottage where the boy's family mysteriously disappeared during a hurricane and was never found. This is an excellent read, unique.and not predictable
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Book was just ok for me.. Nothing i would write home about or recommend. Seemed to be way drawn out with irrelevant info to fill pages and a lot didnt make sense to me nor did the ending.
Deb-Krenzer More than 1 year ago
This book was near the top of my TBR list for 6/6/17, however, it was my last one to read. Why, the title. I kept looking at it and putting it off, because I was in the mood for an upbeat book. This didn't seem to be one. Why, the title. However when I did open the book to read, I found it slow moving in several places. There was a huge saving grace, Marcus, I loved this little man! He talked so grown up and acted the same way and he was only 11 years old. The author did a great job developing and staying true to his character. His obsession with the "ghost boy" had him doing some crazy things and was the basis of most of the book. As well as, taking care of his Aunt Charlotte which was a heck of a job. The aunt was rather crusty, but did mellow over the year. As I said, slow, but Marcus does save this book. He's someone you love to get to know. Thanks to Bloomsbury and Net Galley for providing me with a free e-galley to read in exchange for an honest, unbiased opinion.
MargoKelly More than 1 year ago
GRIEF COTTAGE is a well-written exploration of life as the characters deal with loss and cultivate relationships. The layered repetitiveness within Godwin's writing served a dynamic storytelling purpose, reconnecting the reader with important points. The pace of the plot allowed time for terrific character development. On a side note: When I speak to writers at workshops and conferences, I'm often asked, "Is the age of the main character the determining factor of whether or not a book is classified as a young adult novel?" The answer is no, and GRIEF COTTAGE is a perfect example. This book is targeted at the adult market, not the young adult market, even though the main character is eleven years old. Why? Because the narrator of the story is an adult looking back, using adult language (in description and tone) and reasoning as he does this. This is not a YA or MG novel for that reason. Here are a few lines that show the adult tone of the book rather than the youthful and often immature mindset of an eleven year old: "She also had linkups to local and online art galleries who liaised between her and potential buyers and charged finders' fees. As I didn't pine for it, she continued not to have cable television." (page 44) "But in 2004 the shorn look was becoming fashionable for women, because of feminism or because they were cancer patients or because they wanted to announce to the world they were lesbians or because it made them look more dramatic." (page 45) "I did worry about the state of Aunt Charlotte's sheets inside the off-limit studio, but refrained from inquiring." (page 187) My favorite passage from the book: "'What's so sad?' I asked. 'When we don't realize how remarkable someone is while they're still with us. Then after they're gone we wish we had told them, but when they were around we didn't know yet.'" (page 293) And finally, I must say, the final cover design is breathtaking. [Thank you to FSB Associates for providing me with a copy of GRIEF COTTAGE for review and giveaway. This in no way influenced my opinion and review of the book.]
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It will make you want to kive