The Language of Dying, by Sarah Pinborough

Lauren Colie

The Wasting Agony of Waiting

The deep kernel of anger that has since burned you hollow. The petty betrayals and muddled affections of a broken family. The wordless sorrow of watching parents, those mighty Titans, crumbling in like a rotten egg, stinking, seeping into nothingness.
Sarah Pinborough holds aloft: death. In your eyes, your ears, filling your nose with the unpleasant emissions as a soul passes on – this is The Language of Dying.

The language is raw, hurting and choking. Pinborough rarely allows you to come up for air. The suffering is real, tactile. The urge to peer out the window, to see what can’t be seen, to dance away into the night with it – it’s real.

This is the story of the middle sibling who binds the family together – the wanderer father, the flighty older brother, the glowing older sister and the two troubled younger brothers – all drawn into the creaking house of their youth by the last days of their dad.

She’s the dreamer, of course, lost in thought as she reflects back on who has it easy, who has it hard, whose marriage didn’t work out and who runs from their problems. All the while, you, her dad, slip further away.

You’re ready. She’s not. The Language of Dying is her journey of letting you go.


From the Book:

“The heat burns my face and burns my brain as I push away from the floor, my legs bursting with energy as I run in panic into the night. I think a whine escapes me, high pitched. I will not be left behind. I will not.

“You look so sick. You’ve given up. You haven’t drunk anything. I think this should surely be enough to make death take over. I am wrong of course. You have so much more dying to do yet.”

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