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Bereavement 'a problematic literary subject'

15th March 2010

Writing about bereavement can offer catharsis for both author and reader, but brings a unique set of problems with it, according to one commentator.

In a Guardian article, broadcaster and author Mark Lawson noted that a flurry of books dealing with death and grief have hit the shelves of late, including Barbara Want's Why Not Me?, Must You Go? My Life with Harold Pinter by Antonia Fraser and Christopher Reid's A Scattering.

'Both Fraser and Reid were surprised - though grateful - about the volume of letters they received from others who had been bereaved, often in quite different circumstances,' he continued.

However, Lawson claimed that literary works focused on bereavement could intrude into the life of the deceased in a way they would not want, citing the example of Pinter, who was an incredibly private man.

In addition, the commentator suggested that a biographer who is from outside the family could be better placed to write about the deceased without presenting a biased view.

Speaking to the Daily Telegraph earlier this year, Reid said that he almost feels guilty that he won the Costa Award for a work which was inspired by his wife's death.

© W&G Foyle Ltd
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