The Iceberg

A New Year can provoke a span of emotions. It’s often a time for reflection and reminiscence. Contemplation of the year left behind and cautious confidence for the year ahead.

I always find that the start of a new year is a fine time to read a book that leaves an imprint on you and nudge you to think about the 12 months ahead.

The Iceberg, the first book by artist Marion Coutts is a memoir quite unlike any other. I chose to read it for deeply personal reasons, but it is an extraordinary story told in an extraordinary way. For that reason if anyone is looking to read a homage to an exceptional man written by an equally exceptional woman then this is a book you will inhale.

The Iceberg is an account of the author’s husband, Tom Lubbock’s illness and death, from brain cancer. It begins in 2008 with Tom’s diagnosis and is written in the present tense so that we are there with them, throughout the whole unfolding drama. It’s only fair to warn you this is not an easy read. Some of you might think it too indulgent, too wordy, too challenging. However the writing is so lyrical, textured and perfectly paced and the story so gripping, if you pick it up, I defy you to put it down.

Death is not an easy subject to consider too deeply for most people. The Iceberg is, absolutely, a book about death, but it’s also about survival. The beauty of this book is that Coutts not just came through such an ordeal, but also that she found the wherewithal to observe death, unpick its complex psychology and commit it to paper. She has recorded the ordeal of the most terrible human trauma and it is a story profoundly and beautifully told.

This is a book for to you savour when your children are lying sleeping in bed (and when they are quiet and you love them the most!). I promise it will starkly remind you of things that we all take for granted – health, family and life – the most important things in anyone’s 2016.

Happy New Year everyone….Next review, something a little more light hearted to get stuck in to brighten up the long winter days.

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