The Iceberg A Memoir

by Marion Coutts

Biography / Autobiography eBooks of the Month

The Iceberg A Memoir Synopsis

In 2008 the art critic Tom Lubbock was diagnosed with a brain tumour. The tumour was located in the area controlling speech and language, and would eventually rob him of the ability to speak. He died early in 2011. Marion Coutts was his wife. In short bursts of beautiful, textured prose, Coutts describes the eighteen months leading up to her partner's death. This book is an account of a family unit, man, woman, young child, under assault, and how the three of them fought to keep it intact. Written with extraordinary narrative force and power, The Iceberg is almost shocking in its rawness. It charts the deterioration of Tom's speech even as it records the developing language of his child. Fury, selfishness, grief, indignity and impotence are all examined and brought to light. Yet out of this comes a rare story about belonging, an 'adventure of being and dying'. This book is a celebration of each other, friends, family, art, work, love and language.

The Good Book Guide Review

In 2008, Marion Coutts’ husband, art critic Tom Lubbock was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumour. Located in the part of the brain that controls speech and language, it would eventually cruelly deprive him of the one faculty on which his work depended. At the time, their young son, Ev, was just eighteen months old, and this small, close family unit faced an unimaginable future together. Marion, also a writer and an artist, wrote down her observations, day by day, trying to make sense of it all. She writes exquisitely, in short poetic sentences that perfectly capture moods, feelings, joy, anger – whatever is going on – with disarming honesty. Despite its deep sadness, this is ultimately an uplifting book.

The Iceberg A Memoir Press Reviews

'An exquisitely expressed portrait of three lives operating in the shadow of catastrophe... This is human trauma, profoundly and beautifully told.' --Independent on Sunday


'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.' --Evening Standard


'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


'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

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All versions of this book

ISBN: 9781782393528
Publication date: 02/04/2015
Publisher: Atlantic Books
Format: Paperback

ISBN: 9781782393504
Publication date: 03/07/2014
Publisher: Atlantic Books
Format: Hardback

Book Information

ISBN: 9781782393528
Publication date: 2nd April 2015
Author: Marion Coutts
Publisher: Atlantic Books
Format: Paperback
Pagination: 304 pages
Genres: Biography / Autobiography, eBook Favourites,
Categories: Memoirs, Coping with illness & specific conditions, Coping with death & bereavement,

About Marion Coutts

Marion Coutts is an artist and writer. She is a Lecturer in Fine Art at Goldsmiths College and wrote the introduction to Tom Lubbock's memoir Until Further Notice, I am Alive, published by Granta in 2012. She lives in London with her son.

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