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Love Like Salt A Memoir by Helen Stevenson

Love Like Salt A Memoir

Biography / Autobiography   

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A beautifully written memoir, in the vein of H is for Hawk and The Last Act of Love, about mothers and daughters, and living the best life you can, even in the shadow of illness.


Love Like Salt A Memoir by Helen Stevenson

'Did Clara taste salty when I kissed her? She did. She tasted of mermaids, of the sea.' Love Like Salt is a deeply affecting memoir, beautifully and intelligently written. It is about mothers and daughters, music and illness, genes and inheritance, writing and story-telling. It is about creating joy from the hand you've been dealt and following its lead - in this case to rural France, where the author and her family lived for seven years. And back again. 'I had always written, and until the birth of Clara I wrote for a living. Once I knew the Cystic Fibrosis gene had unfolded itself in our daughter's body, like a paper flower meeting water, I felt that to write, even if I had had time, or been able, would have been to squander a kind of power which was needed for tending and nurturing. Every moment became a moment in which I protected my baby. Some of it I did in secret, like a madwoman muttering spells. I thought of her as a candle, cupping my hand around her.


'It's a slice of a life ... a complex, intelligent, beautiful, thoughtful, rather lyrical book' -- Cathy Rentzenbrink, author of The Last Act of Love

'A moving treatise on inheritance, not just of a disease like cf, but of our attitudes to living and loving, our sense of cultural and familial landscape, and how these intangibles pass down through generations. Stevenson picks apart her life like a strand of DNA to uncover just how we become the sum of our parts'
Daily Telegraph

'Motherhood, medicine and music are explored with a spellbinding intensity. This memoir is beautifully written and entirely emotionally honest... a celebration of a family who are determined to live as luminous a life as possible, to make a kind of poetry out of the everyday' Psychologies, 'Book of the Month

'In Love Like Salt, motherhood, medicine and music are explored with a spellbinding intensity. It is a beautifully written and entirely honest memoir...There is a lovely lean towards magical thinking in the form of boundless hope, the healing hands of a friend, the wish for a miracle ... Stevenson acknowledges the pain and overwhelming melancholy of being the mother of a sick child but she also manages to wholeheartedly celebrate the life of her family, who are still determined to live as luminous a life as possible, to make a kind of poetry out of the everyday.' -- Eithne Farry Sunday Express

'Love Like Salt is a portrait of mothers and children, of a daughter's illness and how it rearranges relationships in unexpected ways. The author weaves in reflections on music and mortality, France and England, religion and secularism, and on the protective love that a mother feels for a sick child ... Stevenson has written an honest, poetic, affecting book that will speak to any reader' -- Jenny McCartney Mail on Sunday

About the Author

Helen Stevenson lives in Somerset with her husband and two daughters. She is the author of three novels and a memoir, Instructions for Visitors. She translates French fiction and teaches piano. Stevenson studied modern languages at Somerville College, Oxford.

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Book Info

Publication date

2nd February 2017


Helen Stevenson

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Author 'Like for Like'


Virago Press Ltd an imprint of Little, Brown Book Group


304 pages


Coping with illness & specific conditions
Congenital diseases & disorders



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