Grief Is the Thing With Feathers

Grief Is the Thing With Feathers

eBook - 2016
Average Rating:
Rate this:

Here he is, husband and father, scruffy romantic, a shambolic scholar--a man adrift in the wake of his wife's sudden, accidental death. And there are his two sons who like him struggle in their London apartment to face the unbearable sadness that has engulfed them. The father imagines a future of well-meaning visitors and emptiness, while the boys wander, savage and unsupervised.

In this moment of violent despair they are visited by Crow--antagonist, trickster, goad, protector, therapist, and babysitter. This self-described "sentimental bird," at once wild and tender, who "finds humans dull except in grief," threatens to stay with the wounded family until they no longer need him. As weeks turn to months and the pain of loss lessens with the balm of memories, Crow's efforts are rewarded and the little unit of three begins to recover: Dad resumes his book about the poet Ted Hughes; the boys get on with it, grow up.

Part novella, part polyphonic fable, part essay on grief, Max Porter's extraordinary debut combines compassion and bravura style to dazzling effect. Full of angular wit and profound truths, Grief Is the Thing with Feathers is a startlingly original and haunting debut by a significant new talent.

Publisher: New York : Graywolf Press, 2016
ISBN: 9781555979379
Characteristics: 1 online resource
text file


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
WestSlope_MarlyO Oct 16, 2018

A beautiful elegiac book that can be read in a sitting or slowly over time. While previous knowledge and appreciation of Crow by Ted Hughes is not required it will deepen your experience.

Jan 12, 2018

This broke and soothed my heart in equal measure. So many relatable moments and helpful lines for grief. A very personal book. Exceptional.

Nov 01, 2017

Exceptional. I'm so grateful this found me.
Pair with the Phil Elverum (aka Mount Eerie) album A Crow Looked at Me for the full plunge

Oct 28, 2016

A delight to read despite its subject matter. The words kept alight the continuum of his verse. Cleverly written.

Sep 27, 2016

An astonishing and brilliant book. I put a hold on it after reading an early review because I like Ted Hughes' poetry and I like crows (as animals and tricksters); and I especially like writers who are not afraid to play with the novel as narrative. I think this is an amazing debut, and look forward to reading much more by Max Porter.

Bunny_Watson716 Sep 16, 2016

A haunting, beautiful read about grief. Porter's language is poetic and playful and the intrusion of the Crow on their family is a fantastic embodiment of the emotional effects of bereavement.

Sep 10, 2016

A prose poem about grief written by a Ted Hughes fan. Not maudlin. Can be read in an hour.

Aug 17, 2016

Not quite a novel, not quite short stories, not quite poetry. It is sad and funny and moving and thoughtful.

Jul 14, 2016

Loved the style of this book - lyrical and quick read. Found myself empathizing and smiling along. A triumph of a debut.

ser_library Dec 26, 2015

amazingly i laughed in places; a wonderful book

View All Comments


Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further


Subject Headings


Find it at DPL

To Top