Mrs Death Misses Death
by Salena Godden
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Pub Date 01 Feb 2022 | Archive Date 01 Feb 2022
LONGLISTED FOR THE GORDON BURN PRIZE
Mrs Death has had enough. She is exhausted from spending eternity doing her job and now she seeks someone to unburden her conscience to. Wolf Willeford, a troubled young writer, is well acquainted with death, but until now hadn't met Death in person - a black, working-class woman who shape-shifts and does her work unseen.
Enthralled by her stories, Wolf becomes Mrs Death's scribe, and begins to write her memoirs. Using their desk as a vessel and conduit, Wolf travels across time and place with Mrs Death to witness deaths of past and present and discuss what the future holds for humanity. As the two reflect on the losses they have experienced - or, in the case of Mrs Death, facilitated - their friendship grows into a surprising affirmation of hope, resilience and love. All the while, despite her world-weariness, Death must continue to hold humans' fates in her hands, appearing in our lives when we least expect her . . .
‘A fantastically imaginative story about life, death and everything in between – a potent reminder that life is short and every second should be cherished’
‘A modern-day Pilgrim’s Progress leavened with caustic wit . . . This is not light-hearted stuff, yet Godden has produced a miraculously light-hearted novel . . . an elegant, occasionally uproarious, danse macabre’
‘Exquisite. A daring, poetic offering that establishes Godden as one of our most exciting voices. I loved it’
‘A rhythmic and powerful poetic meditation on death, life and love and the hidden mysteries of the universe; both playful and sombre, hilarious and human’
‘In this timely and exquisite meditation on breath and its best rhyme, we see a stunning performance poet crowding all the energy, wisdom, passion and laughs of her live work into the solid ingot of this astounding novel, as profound as Cohen, as playful as Brautigan’
‘It’s light, it’s dark, it’s twisted and it’s brilliant. As we all encounter life, so too we should all encounter Mrs Death. Poetry, prose, life and death. Salena Godden brings them together with ease. She is a wordsmith of the highest order’
‘Dark at times – with compelling stories about miscarriages of justice, murder and racial oppression – it is nonetheless celebratory and life-affirming, aglow with love, fortitude and compassion’
Mail on Sunday
‘I love Salena Godden and I love Mrs Death Misses Death. Salena, like the lead character, is a force to be reckoned with. If the page were a stage, Mrs Death is its star. She soaks in the spotlight, commanding the eye of the audience. It is an assured debut by a poet whom I hold in the highest regard’
‘A witty, angry, warm and elemental combination of poetry and prose . . . an exhilarating combination of allegory, poetry and very real fury’
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 49 members
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