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Home Age Space Book Shelf The Madness of Grief by Richard Coles

The Madness of Grief by Richard Coles

Richard Coles writes movingly about grief following the unexpected death of his partner

Reviewed by Patricia Avery
Reviewed by Patricia Avery


This is a well-written book and in some ways easy to read even though the subject matter is very difficult for Coles to come to terms with. It deals with a very traumatic time in his life when his husband David, 15 years his junior, dies unexpectedly at the age of 42.

About the book

As part of his day job Coles is well used to dealing with death and supporting the bereaved but he found himself floundering. He was left feeling helpless and overwhelmed in the face of his grief.

In real time the book only covers the short period that elapsed between the death and burial of David who became the love of his life after he had experienced several failed relationships. But as Coles pours out his grief in this book he looks back over their time together through flashbacks and memories and considerable detail about the last few days in hospital before the death.

It quickly becomes apparent that David’s alcoholism which eventually caused his death caused many problems in the marriage. Coles does not look at the past through rose coloured spectacles. He gives a warts and all account of their relationship.

Our Rating


Would you recommend this book?

What I found refreshing was his honesty on his failings in coping with his loss. It cannot have been an easy book to write or to admit to this but I was left wondering whether in doing so Coles was able to work through some of his issues.