The Language of Dying

The Language of Dying

by Sarah Pinborough


View All Available Formats & Editions
Choose Expedited Shipping at checkout for guaranteed delivery by Thursday, May 30


In this emotionally gripping, genre-defying novella from Sarah Pinborough, a woman sits at her father's bedside, watching the clock tick away the last hours of his life. Her brothers and sisters—she is the middle child of five—have all turned up over the past week to pay their last respects. Each is traumatized in his or her own way, and the bonds that unite them to each other are fragile—as fragile perhaps as the old man's health.

With her siblings all gone, back to their self-obsessed lives, she is now alone with the faltering wreck of her father's cancer-ridden body. It is always at times like this when it—the dark and nameless, the impossible, presence that lingers along the fringes of the dark fields beyond the house—comes calling.

As the clock ticks away in the darkness, she can only wait for it to find her, a reunion she both dreads and aches for...

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781681444369
Publisher: Quercus
Publication date: 08/02/2016
Pages: 144
Sales rank: 677,736
Product dimensions: 5.80(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Sarah Pinborough was a teacher, but now writes full-time. She is developing an original horror screenplay, Cracked, and her supernatural crime series, The Dog-Faced Gods, for TV. She has also written episodes for the popular BBC crime drama New Tricks. Her latest book is Behind Her Eyes. She lives in West London.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

The Language of Dying 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
booklover- More than 1 year ago
Watching someone die day after day, especially of someone you love, is emotionally heart-breaking. More so, if you've no one to share your memories, the stories, the day to day caring of a loved one without help. This woman is watching her father die. She is the middle child ,,, she has 2 older siblings and 2 younger. They have all gathered to be with her and to pay last respects this week. They are not a close knit family. They are all playing the game of being family, but nothing really rings true. This short story is written in her voice. She talks to her father in her head, remembering what it was like when he was young and strong.... how they all got along, or how they didn't. She sits in the dark sometimes looking at his cancer-ridden body, knowing that it is only days now. Two of her siblings have had to leave .. promising they will be back...maybe. The remaining two she has chased away and now it's only her and her father. As she drifts away in her mind, staring out the window ... she sees it. She hasn't seen it in 15 years ... and now she waits. This was a hard story for me to read .. even harder to try to write a coherent review. Having a personal experience of losing a loved one to cancer, I found this is to an emotionally charged reading. So much I could relate to. I remembered the sorrow ... the times I felt guilty if I laughed.. watched as he left me alone. It's extremely well-written, pulling from the reader a powerful reaction to her words. It's as though she was with you when you suffered your loss. She's been there. Many thanks to the author / Quercus (US) / Jo Fletcher Books / Netgalley for the advance digital copy. Opinions expressed her are unbiased and entirely my own.
BrandieC More than 1 year ago
The Language of Dying was not what I expected of Sarah Pinborough, whom I consider to be primarily a horror/dark fantasy author. While there is a very slight supernatural element, The Language of Dying is essentially a one-sided conversation between the narrator and her dying father, whose care she has assumed without any real assistance from her sister and three brothers. She recounts various incidents from their shared history, and we witness her oh-so-polite interactions with those siblings as they return to say their brief goodbyes to the man who raised them after their mother abandoned the family. Pinborough has dedicated her book to "Nick, a good friend, much missed" and describes it in her acknowledgements as "this little book, which means so much to me," leading me to wonder whether it was written as an outlet for her grief over her friend's death. There is no denying the sincerity and depth of feeling, the elegiac tone, portrayed here, and readers looking for such a book will appreciate The Language of Dying. Don't expect much, though, from "the thing she saw out in the fields all those years ago . . . the thing that they found her screaming for outside in the mud"; it has only a walk-on part. I received a free copy of The Language of Dying from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
JBronder More than 1 year ago
This story is about a man that raised his five children after his wife left them. He is now dying from cancer. Of the five sibling, the middle sister is the narrator. She is the one that they accused of being the dreamer. Things have not always been easy for her and as she waits with her father she relates the different events in her life. Then her brothers and sister come to say their goodbyes without really saying goodbye. But after the pleasantries the old alliances are shown and they eventually leave the middle daughter alone to face the upcoming death of their father. Losing someone close is always hard and you go through so many emotions from happiness to love to anger to grief. This book has the whole range of emotions as the woman waits for her father’s death. It’s so hard to watch when her siblings are there. They clearly don’t want to have anything to do with the passing of their father and they clearly have their own family alliances that they fall back into. I felt for the woman. She has this heavy burden dumped on her as they leave. This is a heartbreaking story and at times very hard to read. But it is well written and moving. This is a quick read but one that you will think of for a long time. I received The Language of Dying for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
ScotsLass More than 1 year ago
Language of Dying by Sarah Pinborough is a novella about a difficult subject, the slow death of a father from cancer. It reveals how the impending death impacts the lives of the family. Told from the point of view of the middle daughter as she talks to her dying father and through a series of memories, the story is raw and full of emotions. The family has gathered to pay their last respects in their father’s final hours. Each member of the family is broken and dysfunctional and through the stresses of this time. We see how twisted the bonds are that hold the family together. This is a well-crafted, almost poetic book covering a difficult and painful reality that we all must face, the death of a loved one. At a time when a family should draw together, this is often a time when a family fractures and this is so beautifully illustrated. This is not an easy book to read and although it is short it packs a punch with well-developed characters in a very realistic situation. When the time is right, this is a good book to read. I received a copy of this book from NetGalley and Quercus Books in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Myndia More than 1 year ago
Another tearjerker. Powerful, painful and raw. This book is about so much more than watching a loved one die. It’s about all the things that make up a life, about family, relationships, hope, rebirth, and letting go…not just of those we love, but of the pain and destruction in our own lives. The main character – who remains unnamed – has taken on the task of caring for her dying father. She had previously purchased her childhood home from him, and has now brought him home for his final days. As the end nears, she revisits her past and wrestles with her demons. Her brothers and sister come to visit, stirring up more memories, a lot of resentments, and some clarity about who they are and what can be expected of them. There is frustration and laughter, anger and acceptance, pain and love. It is painful and honest. It isn’t just about death and living, but also depression and victimization, and the events in our lives that help to define the role we play in life. Pinborough is an exquisite writer who truly understands the power of words. Losing myself in this book happened without my realizing it. The pain and suffering were palpable. While reading, I couldn’t help but think of my grandmother’s passing, as well as my uncle’s. Both of cancer. And my mother who, much like the main character, has her own daily battles and probably never thought she’d be strong enough to take on managing the care and death of someone she loves, but did so twice. People often have more strength than they realize, and those who step up in these situations rarely get the recognition or appreciation that they deserve. I did find the whole magical creature a bit odd and out of place. It actually broke the spell of the book the few times it came up mostly because it never really seemed to go anywhere. I imagine there is some sort of symbolism I’m not grasping or appreciating. Not enough to entirely take away from the book, but a bit that could have been left out entirely without negatively impacting the story. Excellent read. Note: I received this book from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.