tom

The latest addition to my website is Marie Darrieussecq‘s Tom est mort (Tom is Dead). This is (fictitious) tale of a woman whose four-and-a-half year old son dies in an accident – we are not given the details till the end of the book – and what happens to her afterwards. She is writing ten years after the event but is still suffering from the grief at her loss. She is a French woman, married to an Englishman, but they live in Sydney where her husband’s firm has sent him. Tom dies three weeks after he arrives. Darrieussecq tells an intense tale of grief – how the mother remains unable to speak after his death, how she blames herself, how she would be prepared to sacrifice her husband and two other children to have Tom back, how she hears his voice and buys ten tape recorders to record and listen to it, how she thinks about him all the time, how she is totally consumed with the grief at the loss of her son ands struggles very hard to get over it. It is a very well written novel but hard to read. At times, you feel like her husband does at one point in the book – Pull yourself together, woman – but you know that losing a child must be the hardest thing for a parent.