- Hardcover: 304 pages
- Publisher: Atlantic; Main edition (23 July 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1782393501
- ISBN-13: 978-1782393504
- Product Dimensions: 15.6 x 2.6 x 21.6 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 499 g
- Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
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The Iceberg: A Memoir Hardcover – 23 Jul 2014
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Coutts's prose is precise and compelling, lyrical and poised... This is not another memoir of overcoming loss and grief, but rather an exploration of consciousness. * Times Literary Supplement * It is a memoir quite unlike any other. It has the strength of an arrow: taut, spiked, quavering, working to its fatal conclusion... The Iceberg is an extraordinary story told in an extraordinary way. * The Sunday Times * The Iceberg is mesmerising, harrowing and radiant. There are times when to go on reading is almost unbearable, yet it is impossible to put it down. -- Cressida Connolly * Mail on Sunday * Marion Coutts has written a fierce love letter-cum-elegy in The Iceberg... This is far more than just another book about grief. -- Marina Warner * Observer * Hey - want to uncontrollably weep your eyes out? Read Marion Coutts describing her husband dying of a brain tumour. * @caitlinmoran * She chooses her words with such beautiful scrupulousness, never twisting or turning the knife of her story to exact our pity or admiration; her thought is like sensation, her descriptions of feeling are often like notes for a visual work... Her book is a homage to an exceptional man; it's also the work of an exceptional woman artist, writing from the inside about the things women have always done: nursing, nurturing, loving. * Guardian * The writing is lyrical, textured, perfectly paced; the sentences short so that we feel Coutts's moments of panic, her quickened heartbeat... [A] startlingly beautiful and inspiring pioneer text * Independent * Readers should be warned that sharing such a grief as closely as this marvellous book compels one to do is painful... This is a book that clearly had to be written... And certainly it ought to be read by anyone who ever pauses to consider our mortality. -- Diana Athill * Sunday Telegraph * Extraordinary... Not quite like any other bereavement memoir... it reads like a huge juggernaut, its inevitable awful ending hurtling towards you at full speed from the first page... I defy anyone reading her account of their last Christmas together... not to be moved to tears. * Evening Standard * An exquisitely expressed portrait of three lives operating in the shadow of catastrophe... The miracle here is not only in Coutts coming through such an ordeal, but in finding the wherewithal to observe it, unpick its complex psychology, and commit it to paper. This is human trauma, profoundly and beautifully told. * Independent on Sunday *
About the Author
Marion Coutts is an artist and writer. She wrote the introduction to Tom Lubbock's memoir Until Further Notice, I am Alive, published by Granta in 2012. She is a Lecturer in Fine Art at Goldsmiths College and lives in London with her son.
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Amazon.com: 54 reviews
Devastating and devastatingly beautiful. Will take you places I can almost guarantee ...3 February 2016 - Published on Amazon.com
Devastating and devastatingly beautiful. Will take you places I can almost guarantee you will immediately be able to go, you will have to come back to. Like a leaf in a maelstrom the reader is tossed, whirled, blasted in the winds of rage and pain, then finally left to drift down into a wondrous grace. Marion Coutts poetic rendering of every confusion, every fear, every moment of transcendence is as unique a voice as any I have ever read on any subject; when the subject is this profound it is beyond imagining that she could capture it so completely, and hand it whole to her reader. I found out about this book when Bill Bryson mentioned it in a New York Times interview. I believe he listed it when asked what book last made him cry. I am so glad he led me to it.
7 people found this helpful
An Iconic Work15 August 2014 - Published on Amazon.com
This is an extraordinary book that touches the depths of both sorrow and joy in loving, of strength and frailty in living, and of the mix of life and death for a family immersed in terminal illness. The irony of her husband's loss of speech due to the illness counterposed with the learning to talk by her little son is deeply affecting. Coutts has written a standout work in this memoir, one that grabbed me from the start and will not let me go after finishing the book.
21 people found this helpful
A gorgeous journal of a deeply painful loss7 July 2016 - Published on Amazon.com
The Iceberg reads like what it most certainly is -- a journal kept by the author from the moment of her husband's diagnosis until his death. I understand that for a writer, what Nora Ehpron said is true: "Everything is Copy." Yet, I was continually aware, reading this, that even as the author grieved and struggled, she was consciously fashioning a record that she must have intended all along would find its way into print. The level of detail is such that this must have been a day by day account, and not a memoir "recollected in tranquility." Having said that, I found it gorgeously written, penetratingly sad, tough going in places, but ultimately rewarding and worth having read. Other reviewers faulted this account because the author did not fully develop her husband as a personality. But this is not a novel, and he is not a character. This is her journal, her story, and there were many instances, such as, for example, her joy when she got a late night or early morning phone call from her husband (who was in hospital) that gave you to understand how connected they were and what an incredible loss this was for her. Marion Coutts manages to convey her love, grief loss, with incredible sensitivity and without sentimentality.
2 people found this helpful
what it is to be loved, valued21 April 2016 - Published on Amazon.com
I have read two incredibly powerful books almost back to back: the history of Ravensbruck, the Nazi concentration camp for women, and now, The Iceberg. Oh boy. The Iceberg. A memoir by Marion Coutts that narrates her husband's illness with brain cancer. I won't say battle because there is no winning. Sparsely and precisely written, but packed with underlying currents that are extremely intense. Coutts is startlingly very matter-of-fact, but in this memoir, she underlines what it is to be human, what it is to be ill, what it is to be loved, valued, needed, and what it means to lose the floor beneath you. Never sentimental, never maudlin, never morose, never pitying, we follow Coutts and her small family through to the inevitable; her husband dies. We know this from the beginning. But it is the path we take with them that is shocking, naked, and raw. And you feel it. It's not a simple read, and after I finished it, I sat on the couch for a long time, just sitting. Everything I could possibly do seemed insignificant after reading the last line. And that is what makes this book so profound, and make Coutts such a force of a writer. Not an easy read, but an incredible one.
2 people found this helpful
Edward V. Blanchard
A difficult journey with a great guide!7 February 2017 - Published on Amazon.com
This is a very tough, great memoir, a difficult journey as a wife & mother participates in her husban'd ultimately (inevitably) unsuccessful battle with brain cancer. But she is a trenchant and honest & sometimes poetic writer, and it is a worthwhile, if difficult, journey to take with her & her husband & young son! I experienced many of the same peaks & valleys as I lost my wife to a similar cancer, & I doubt anyone will surpass her for capturing such hard times. (Although I feel she behaved better than me.). I highly recommend this book!
2 people found this helpful
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