In 2008, Marion Coutts’ husband, the art critic Tom Lubbock, was diagnosed
with a brain tumour, and told that he had not more than two years to live.
The tumour was located in the area of the brain controlling speech and
language, and would eventually rob him of the ability to speak. Tom was 53
when he died, leaving Marion and their son Eugene, just two years old,
The book is a stunning record of Lubbock’s illness and how the
family or rather she dealt with it and it is a painstaking record of hospital visits, getting the ongoing bad
news, making the decisions when Lubbock is unable to. A staggering account of Lubbock’s death, I loved her comment “I am
sending you off” and her descriptions of her dealing with their young son during this is mind blowing. There is a real calmness about her writing style; you do feel maybe wrongly that she is in control of it all.
The writing is lyrical, textured, perfectly paced; the sentences
short so that we feel Coutts’s moments of panic, her quickened heartbeat.
Staggering and raw account of Lubbock illness and ultimate death, heart
breaking to read.