The Grief of Others

The Grief of Others

by Leah Hager Cohen

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Overview

The subtly powerful novel adapted into the 2015 feature film, The Grief of Others asks: is keeping a secret from a spouse always an act of infidelity? And what cost does such a secret exact on a family?

The Ryries have suffered a loss: the death of a baby just fifty-seven hours after his birth. Without words to express their grief, the parents, John and Ricky, try to return to their previous lives. Struggling to regain a semblance of normalcy for themselves and for their two older children, they find themselves pretending not only that little has changed, but that their marriage, their family, have always been intact, that the loss of a child had no lasting impact. Yet in the aftermath, long-suppressed uncertainties about their relationship come roiling to the surface. A dreadful secret emerges with reverberations that reach far into their past and threaten their future.

 

The couple’s children, ten-year-old Biscuit and thirteen-year-old Paul, responding to the unnamed tensions around them, begin to act out in exquisitely—perhaps courageously—idiosyncratic ways. But as the four family members scatter into private, isolating grief, an unexpected visitor arrives, and they all find themselves growing more alert to the sadness and burdens of others—to the grief that is part of every human life but that also carries within it the power to draw us together.

Moving, psychologically acute, and gorgeously written, The Grief of Others asks how we balance personal autonomy with the intimacy of relationships, how we balance private decisions with the obligations of belonging to a family, and how we take measure of our own sorrows in a world rife with suffering. This novel shows how one family, by finally allowing itself to experience the shared quality of grief, is able to rekindle tenderness and hope and are able to overcome their grief.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781594486128
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 09/04/2012
Pages: 400
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.10(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Leah Hager Cohen is the author of the novel Heat Lightning and of three acclaimed works of non-fiction, Train Go Sorry; Glass, Paper, Beans; and The Stuff of Dreams. She lives with her three children near Boston.

What People are Saying About This

Robb Forman Dew

At once compact and sweeping. Cohen never strikes a false note in relating the complicated emotions of her characters. She has created a world both universal and particular. She illuminates all the ways it is glorious to be burdened with full-fledged humanity in the vast universe. (Robb Forman Dew, author of The Evidence Against Her)

Suzanne Berne

A wise and compassionate novel that looks frankly at the ways members of a family can wound and betray each other, even when trying to do just the opposite. Readers will be tempted to vilify Ricky, but she's much too complex for that. Despite the lies, subterfuges, and silences these characters inflict on one another, there are no villains here, just a family trying to carry on. (Suzanne Berne, author of The Ghost at the Table)

Tom Perrotta

The Grief of Others is an engrossing and revealing look at a family sinking beneath the weight of a terrible secret. Leah Hager Cohen writes about difficult subjects with unfailing compassion and insight. (Tom Perrotta, New York Times-bestselling author of Little Children)

Lily King

The Grief of Others is a gorgeous, absorbing, intricately told tale of one family on the brink of collapse, as well as an intimate exploration of art and its place in our lives. Leah Hager Cohen expertly juggles six characters and all their needs, yearning, wounds, and secrets with tremendous skill and—even more important—deep and tender compassion. She is a masterlyl writer on every level. (Lily King, author of Father of the Rain)

Andrew Solomon

This is an eloquent book about the beauty, the sadness, and the aloneness that inhere in love. (Andrew Solomon, author of The Noonday Demon)

From the Publisher

"An engrossing and revealing look at family . . . Leah Hager Cohen writes about difficult subjects with unfailing compassion and insight." —-Tom Perrotta, author of Little Children

Dani Shapiro

How does a family transcend its own pain? How do the secrets we keep shape our lives and the lives of those we love? In this gracefully written, elegantly structured novel, Leah Hager Cohen has created an indelible cast of characters whose story is at once wrenching and redemptive. This is a beautiful book. (Dani Shapiro, author of Family History)

Susanna Daniel

The Grief of Others is delicate, haunting, and lovely, and very difficult to leave on the shelf. (Susanna Daniel, author of Stiltsville)

Customer Reviews