Daniel Juckes reviews 'Grief is the Thing with Feathers' by Max Porter

Daniel Juckes reviews 'Grief is the Thing with Feathers' by Max Porter

Grief is the Thing with Feathers

by Max Porter

Faber, $24.99 hb, 128 pp, 9780571323760

Crow is wild. His black eyes glint and his beak seems to smile. Malicious and mischievous, he sits in a living room with two boys and their father wrapped in his wings. The woman who was their mother and wife has died, leaving the family 'like Earth in that extraordinary picture of the planet surrounded by a thick belt of space junk'.

Crow is the titular bird of Ted Hughes's 1970 poetry collection. The father is writing a book about him that 'will reflect the subject. It will hop about a bit.' Grief is the Thing with Feathers reflects its subjects too: grief, firstly, but also the myth that Hughes built. And it does hop about, in a warp of prose and poetry that, like Crow, pays no heed to rules or sense. There is, for example, a certain carelessness with facts; this disorientation helps represent grief.

Read the rest of this article by purchasing a subscription to ABR Online, or subscribe to the print edition to receive access to ABR Online free of charge.

If you are a single issue subscriber you will need to upgrade your subscription to view back issues.

If you are already subscribed, click here to log in.

Published in March 2016, no. 379
Daniel Juckes

Daniel Juckes

Daniel Juckes is a creative writer and PhD candidate from Curtin University, Western Australia. He graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a Bachelor of Arts (History and Politics) and then from Curtin with a Bachelor of Arts in Professional Writing and Publishing. His reviews have been published in Grok and on the Westerly blog. His research interests include autobiography, family memoir, and nostalgia. His current creative work-in-progress is a family history/memoir inspired by heirlooms and ephemera.

Leave a comment

Please note that all comments must be approved by ABR and comply with our Terms & Conditions.

NB: If you are an ABR Online subscriber or contributor, you will need to login to ABR Online in order to post a comment. If you have forgotten your login details, or if you receive an error message when trying to submit your comment, please email your comment (and the name of the article to which it relates) to comments@australianbookreview.com.au. We will review your comment and, subject to approval, we will post it under your name.