A must-read if ever there was one! The story of Wolf and Mrs Death offers the most unique, powerful, and eye-opening view of the circle of life and death.
February 2021 Book Club Recommendation
Excuse me while I rave about this book, it’s so different, so powerful, so fabulous that I’m experiencing reading elation after finishing it. When Wolf Willeford meets Mrs Death, he becomes her scribe and travels with her to view humanity as it circulates from life to death. A renowned performance poet, this is Salena Godden’s debut novel. In 2018 a BBC Radio 4 documentary was broadcast as it followed the novel as it was written over twelve months. Containing poetry, chants, commentary, recollections, moments in time, and all within the most wonderful story, this is a recognisable yet totally unique take on death. Her words entered my thoughts and made me see, search, examine, they entered my heart and made me feel. Small intimate and intricate moments sit alongside huge stories that are all linked by death. My feelings span from humour to heartbreak, from darkness to light, and all the while the story flows with strength and beauty. There may well be some emotionally difficult paths to explore along the way, and while uncomfortable reading in places this is as much about life, love, and hope as it is death. This is a reading experience I won’t forget and I just had to choose it as one of my Liz Picks of the Month and of course a LoveReading Star Book. Celebrating life and opening up questions on how we view death, Mrs Death Misses Death is a wake-up call of a book that I will be recommending far and wide.
Mrs Death has had enough. She is exhausted from spending eternity doing her job and now she seeks someone to unburden her conscience to. Wolf Willeford, a troubled young writer, is well acquainted with death, but until now hadn't met Death in person - a black, working-class woman who shape-shifts and does her work unseen.
Enthralled by her stories, Wolf becomes Mrs Death's scribe, and begins to write her memoirs. Using their desk as a vessel and conduit, Wolf travels across time and place with Mrs Death to witness deaths of past and present and discuss what the future holds for humanity. As the two reflect on the losses they have experienced - or, in the case of Mrs Death, facilitated - their friendship grows into a surprising affirmation of hope, resilience and love. All the while, despite her world-weariness, Death must continue to hold humans' fates in her hands, appearing in our lives when we least expect her . . .
|Publication date:||28th January 2021|
|Publisher:||Canongate Books Ltd|
|Primary Genre||Literary Fiction|
Salena Godden's debut novel is timeless, brave and beautiful. By her open-hearted embrace of Mrs Death, Godden shows that life always flowers among friendship and connections. This is a book for everyone who understands they hang suspended between the click and the bang -- JOHN HIGGS
A major book, a poet's lament and an act of hope, flaming with life and truth and wit -- MAGGIE GEE
What a writer. What a novel. The inventiveness of this use of story and form to delve in and out of loss, grief but ultimately hope and friendship had me hooked until the last page. I had to take breaks, regularly, from reading this - in part to savour what felt like such unique writing, but also because I did not want it to end. I am in love with stories that take apart our expectations of what or how we should be reading about certain topics, and instead gives us new insight through their delivery - and Mrs Death does exactly that. I want to read every novel by Salena to come . . . for many years -- TRAVIS ALABANZA
Salena Godden's pin-sharp ability to mine the intricacies of human nature fuels her long-awaited debut novel, a life-affirming and unflinching treatise on death and its stark realities. Always playful, infused with her trademark humour and commitment to truth, Godden reinvents the form while staying true to an emotional honesty that's as forthright as it is courageous. Mrs Death's finale is some of the most powerful writing I've read in years. Here is necessary, beautiful work. Thank God for Godden -- COURTTIA NEWLAND
I love Salena Godden and I love Mrs Death Misses Death. Salena, like the lead character, is a force to be reckoned with. If the page were a stage, Mrs Death is its star. She soaks in the spotlight, commanding the eye of the audience. It is an assured debut by a poet whom I hold in the highest regard -- LEMN SISSAY
It's light, it's dark, it's twisted and it's brilliant. As we all encounter life, so too we should all encounter Mrs Death. Poetry, prose, life and death. Salena Godden brings them together with ease. She is a wordsmith of the highest order -- BENJAMIN ZEPHANIAH
In this timely and exquisite meditation on breath and its best rhyme, we see a stunning performance poet crowding all the energy, wisdom, passion and laughs of her live work into the solid ingot of this astounding novel, as profound as Cohen, as playful as Brautigan. Salena Goddess, more like -- ALAN MOORE
A rhythmic and powerful poetic meditation on death, life and love and the hidden mysteries of the universe; both playful and sombre, hilarious and human -- NIKESH SHUKLA
Exquisite. A daring, poetic offering that establishes Godden as one of our most exciting voices. I loved it -- IRENOSEN OKOJIE
A fantastically imaginative story about life, death and everything in between - a potent reminder that life is short and every second should be cherished -- IDRIS ELBA
Salena Godden is one of Britain's best loved poets and performers. She is also an activist, broadcaster, memoirist and essayist and is widely anthologised. She has published several volumes of poetry, the latest of which was Pessimism is for Lightweights, and a literary childhood memoir, Springfield Road. Mrs Death Misses Death is her debut novel. A BBC Radio 4 documentary following Godden's progress on the novel over twelve months was broadcast in 2018. In November 2020 she was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. @salenagodden | salenagodden.co.ukMore About Salena Godden