I kind of cried when I’ve finished this.
If you watch Jen Campbell on Youtube (if not, you should!), you probably heard about this book! Jen raves about it, and it’s very well deserved. I wanted to read it for ages, and I finally got it recently and decided to read it immediately. And I loved it.
This book is kind of difficult to explain. First of all, it’s a sort of prose poetry novel. It’s structure and language is poetic, but it has the narrative of a novel. It is centered around two boys, and it revolves around them trying to come to terms with the fact that their mother has died. Their father is a Ted Hughes scholar and we sort of see their grief personified in the Crow, which is this strange figure that appears and stays with them until they no longer need him.
It sounds kind of strange and weird, because it is. It’s completely original and unlike anything I have ever read. It’s heartbreaking at times, but it can also be funny at others, which I find is quite difficult to accomplish. But Max Porter manages to do that, and the end result is so astonishingly beautiful.
I will say that I have never read anything by Ted Hughes. And I have never read The Crow, which is a collection of poetry by Ted Hughes that inspired this book. So I think some of it, some of the nods and connections with the poetry, went completely over my head. I can definitely say that you can read this without it, because the book blew me away and I haven’t read the poetry, but I do believe that if you read Hughes first, it can only heighten the experience.
The whole book is just so beautiful, and I was constantly in awe by its rawness and the emotion Max Porter managed to convey. This is a very short book, about a 100 pages, and yet it packs such a punch in those pages. I got legit goosebumps while reading some of it and I read it in one breath, and immediately wanted to reread it. Also, to my understanding this is semi autobiographical, which makes it even more emotional. I will definitely try to get my hands on The Crow and then reread this, to see how my experience of the book changes.
Definitely recommend this one to everyone, it’s so worth your while.
Final verdict: 5 stars