Friday 9 September 2022

The Elements by Kat Lister BLOG TOUR #TheElements @Madame_George @iconbooks @RandomTTours #BookReview


What does it mean to become a widow at 35?

In her mid-thirties Kat Lister lost her husband to brain cancer. After five years of being a wife and one of being a carer, in love and in and out of hospitals, she became a widow.

In the year following his death Kat seeks refuge in stories of grief and widowhood, but struggles to find a language that can make sense of her experience and the physicality of bereavement. Instead, she turns to the elements - fire, water, earth, air - on her quest to come to terms with her grief, to inhabit her body again, and to find out who she is now.

The Elements by Kat Lister was published on 1 September 2022 by Icon Books. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review as part of this #RandomThingsTours Blog Tour 

Kat Lister writes beautifully, with passion and great emotion. This book can be very difficult to read at times, it is raw and her pain jumps from the pages. However, it's an important book and one that people can take comfort from, the the overarching message that whilst there are many recorded and talked about 'stage of grief', we all grieve in different ways. 

The past couple of years have been hard for me personally, in terms of bereavement. Three years ago my oldest friend died of a particularly rare and aggressive type of cancer. She was 46 and I struggled to cope with that loss, and still do. Earlier this year, my Mum died. She'd been diagnosed with cancer just six months before she died, we nursed her at home and watched her steady decline with such sorrow. The pain that I felt when Mum died is different to the pain that Rachel's death caused me. I have grieved differently, but both times it has been painful and I have felt anger, anguish and agony. 

Kat Lister includes many references in her book, she sought solace in reading when her husband died and I can totally relate to that. She mentions works by authors that I've not heard of, and others that I am familiar with and many that I've noted down and will read myself one day. 

I'm not so sure about the 'elements' part of the book, I understand her reasoning for doing this, and I can empathise with the burning feet, as I have experienced that myself. It's an unusual structure, but again, as is common with grief, it is Kat's way and it is not my place to question the way she wishes to connect her feelings. 

I cannot begin to imagine the pain of losing your husband at such an early age. Seeing someone who was previously so full of life deteriorate until they have to take a bed in the Hospice is overwhelming and Kat's writing shows this throughout. I admire her bravery, her honesty and empathise with her sorrow and loss. 

A book that deals with loss, but has such hope attached too. 

Kat Lister is a writer and editor based in London. 

Beginning her career as a music journalist at the NME, she has gone on to write widely for publications including Vice, Guardian, Marie Claire, Vogue and The Feminist Times, where she was appointed Contributing Editor. 
In 2017, she joined the editorial team at The Pool, becoming a freelance features and news editor until its demise in 2019. 
Since her husband’s death in 2018, she has focused on investigating her experience of grief, writing widely circulated essays and features for The Sunday Times Magazine, Sunday Times Style and The Pool.

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