• Grief Is the Thing with Feathers

  • A Novel
  • By: Max Porter
  • Narrated by: Jot Davies
  • Length: 1 hr and 43 mins
  • 4.4 out of 5 stars (149 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

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.

©2015 Max Porter (P)2017 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"[A] remarkable debut…. Like a prose poem in its splendid language but with its own swift flow, this is highly recommended for ambitious readers." ( Library Journal Starred Review)

What listeners say about Grief Is the Thing with Feathers

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  • Overall
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Remarkable use of language

This might be the best listening experience I have had on Audible. It’s difficult to describe what this work is. Technically, it’s a novel. But it’s also a poem, and ode, an elegy, a love note. I wept at the end. Just marvelous.

3 people found this helpful

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Stunningly Creative

I read the book version first and was stunned at Porter's creativity, but even more impressive was his ease at spitting out some truly potent prose, which has an particular aroma like I have never experienced before, and to add to its verbal dexterity, the book has a lot of heart.

Before buying the audio version, I doubted "Crow" could be delivered properly, or whether the real-world, heart aching tenderness could hit the right note here, but Jot Davies narration floored me. He gave each character their own cadence and voice, and the character of Crow was brought to life in a way that truly surprised me. His recreation of the scene where Crow kicks demon butt is a thing of linguistic artistry. In fact, the audio version as a whole is a work of art, a perfect blend of a writers intent and an actors skill. Davies' creates all the necessary pauses during poignant passages that allows the dialog to breathe naturally. There was no rush and it created the proper weight those scenes needed. This is one of the few books that will stick with you long afterward, and for my money one of the best books I've ever read or listened to.

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Awesome !

This piece is too warm for me to describe. I've listened to it twice now, and look forward to reading/listening to it again in future days. The narration by Jot Davies makes Max Porter's writing come alive and gives this brilliant work all that it deserves. I didn't know about this novel until I looked into reading Lanny, and a reviewer suggested that if I hadn't read Grief is the Thing with Feathers that I read it now. I'm so grateful to that reviewer !!!

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Heartfelt, poetic grief journey

I truly enjoyed this audiobook. Heart wrenching, real, raw & what a perfect way to capture the element of loss. It spoke to my heart. Great reader too. Highly recommend!

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brilliant

Compelling! This was a wonderfully written story, I couldn't put it down. love love love.

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Incredible reader!!

I taught this book in a course in love and loss-a student recommended the audio book version to supplement and it is such a great listen. The reader changes his voice slightly for Dad, Crow and The Boys-but it is his articulation of Crow’s sounds that really make this magnificent. This is a book to have in both editions and read more than once in each.

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just no

disappointing… I was hoping for a gentle essay on dealing with grief but instead got a creepy story with a repulsive crow character and disgusting language. terrible.

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Wonderful.

Made me enjoy reading again. It's Ted Hughes, The Gruffalo, and so more. Thank you Max Porter.

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perfect!

well written well-performed you will enjoy this realizing grief without feeling grief I loved it