The Grief of Others

Leah Hager Cohen

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The Grief of Others

The Grief of Others Is keeping a secret from a spouse always an act of infidelity And what cost does such a secret exact on a family The Ryries have suffered a loss the death of a baby just fifty seven hours after his bi

  • Title: The Grief of Others
  • Author: Leah Hager Cohen
  • ISBN: 9781594488054
  • Page: 349
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Is keeping a secret from a spouse always an act of infidelity And what cost does such a secret exact on a family The Ryries have suffered a loss the death of a baby just fifty seven hours after his birth Without words to express their grief, the parents, John and Ricky, try to return to their previous lives Struggling to regain a semblance of normalcy for themselvIs keeping a secret from a spouse always an act of infidelity And what cost does such a secret exact on a family The Ryries have suffered a loss the death of a baby just fifty seven hours after his birth Without words to express their grief, the parents, John and Ricky, try to return to their previous lives Struggling to regain a semblance of normalcy for themselves and for their two older children, they find themselves pretending not only that little has changed, but that their marriage, their family, have always been intact Yet in the aftermath of the baby s death, long suppressed uncertainties about their relationship come roiling to the surface A dreadful secret emerges with reverberations that reach far into their past and threaten their future.The couple s children, ten year old Biscuit and thirteen year old Paul, responding to the unnamed tensions around them, begin to act out in exquisitely perhaps courageously idiosyncratic ways But as the four family members scatter into private, isolating grief, an unexpected visitor arrives, and they all find themselves growing alert to the sadness and burdens of others to the grief that is part of every human life but that also carries within it the power to draw us together.Moving, psychologically acute, and gorgeously written, The Grief of Others asks how we balance personal autonomy with the intimacy of relationships, how we balance private decisions with the obligations of belonging to a family, and how we take measure of our own sorrows in a world rife with suffering This novel shows how one family, by finally allowing itself to experience the shared quality of grief, is able to rekindle tenderness and hope.

    • ☆ The Grief of Others || ✓ PDF Read by ✓ Leah Hager Cohen
      349 Leah Hager Cohen
    • thumbnail Title: ☆ The Grief of Others || ✓ PDF Read by ✓ Leah Hager Cohen
      Posted by:Leah Hager Cohen
      Published :2019-02-07T13:50:01+00:00

    One thought on “The Grief of Others

    1. Jill on said:

      The Grief of Others reminds me of an elegant package, with layers and layers of exquisite paper. Yet when everything is opened, what remains is a mystery box, something that entices and at the same time, disappoints.The writing is, indeed, beautiful. The story opens with Ricky Ryrie in a hospital bed, holding her newborn son who is fated to die within the next few hours. “The whorls of his ears were as marvelously convoluted as any Echer drawing, the symmetry precise, the lobs little as teardr [...]

    2. Alison on said:

      For the first 100 pages I thought the writing was beautiful, but by the last 100 it started to feel like it was breaking under the weight of its own self-importance. The language could be beautiful, but it never took the characters anywhere. Characters that intrigued me in the beginning were boring me by the end. The author kept saying that John and Ricky were madly in love at one point, but there was never tangible evidence of it. If there had been, I might have been more deeply invested in the [...]

    3. Larraine on said:

      Yet another book that I picked up on impulse at the library - and I'm so glad I did. I've discovered another superb writer in Leah Hager Cohen It's a story of grief - over the loss of a child, the chill in a marriage, and how the surviving children are affected. Ms. Cohen writes so gently and, at the same time, is strong and even cold-blooded in her dissection of the characters. We meet the mother in the maternity ward as she holds her newborn son who is doomed to live only a few days. Born anen [...]

    4. Gayla Bassham on said:

      The problem with having a near-brilliant first five pages is that the rest of the book might not live up to it. The first five pages of this book are devastating--it really is the fastest a book has ever made me cry--and beautiful and real. But much of the rest of the book doesn't live up to it. I loved Ricky, but we don't spend much time with her; the author chooses instead to give us pages and pages with her husband John, her children Paul and Biscuit (the cutesy nickname makes me wince, but t [...]

    5. Marguerite on said:

      I liked this well enough up to the last five pages. Instead of ending the story where it was, which would have worked, Leah Hager Cohen steps in with an omniscient voice to say she has intended the ambiguities and lack of resolution she now points out, which strikes me as patronizing, parting the curtain so we can understand the mind of the author. I thought the opposite, that the story is a little too pat, perhaps, the assurance of depth notwithstanding. The voice of 10-year-old Biscuit is wron [...]

    6. switterbug (Betsey) on said:

      What is grief? It has no physical properties, but it fills a room, a life, many lives, and creates pain. It's bigger than a boulder, but is amorphous. You can't domesticate or quarantine grief, but it can isolate, alienate, afflict. The sun rises and sets, our shadows shorten and lengthen, but grief reaches into darkness and obscures the light. Its stride is long and its span is spacious, but it has no measure. Grief is timeless, but time heals, according to the maxim.This novel is about a famil [...]

    7. Kat on said:

      This is one of my favourite types of novel: a contemporary story, told from multiple perspectives, with compleling complex characters. I always thought that this type of book was called a novel of manners, but, when I looked up the definition, maybe not. In any case this is a fine example of such a novel, whatever its genre might be called.It starts out with a heart-breaking description of the short life (57 hours) of Simon Ryrie, who is born without a brain stem. So you think maybe the hard par [...]

    8. T. Greenwood on said:

      I picked this book up, honestly, because the description of it made it sound like a medley of my own workcluding a character who makes dioramas? Wow! Kindred author spirits :) And now, I am so pleased I did. This novel is a painfully acute portrait of a family in crisis. The writing is terrific. And the end, while heart-breaking, is exactly what it needs to be. My only complaint was that I found the character of Ricky difficult to likebut in one brief scene, she redeems herself painfully and abs [...]

    9. Sophia on said:

      I came to The Grief of Others with mixed feelings. With a title like this, I was afraid I might be letting myself in for a deeply depressing experience. However, though this book was imbued with tragedy, the excellence of the writing meant I never regretted my decision to read it.The story opens with the death of a baby, after just 57 hours of fragile life, and deals with the events, feelings, guilt and recriminations of his family in the time leading up to and following his death. Ricky, his mo [...]

    10. Beth on said:

      When he was born he was alive. That was one thing.He was a he, too, astonishingly--not that anyone expected him to be otherwise, but the notion of one so elemental, so small, carrying the complex mantle of gender seemed preposterous, the designation "male" the linguistic equivalent of a false mustache fixed above his infant lip. His lips, how barely pink they were, the pink of the rim of the sky at winter dusk. And their curl--in the way that the upper lip rose to peaks and dipped down again, tw [...]

    11. Abby on said:

      Leah Hager Cohen is an exquisite writer. She is able to sketch characters with keen insight and to write with beauty and clarity. I thought the first 100 pages of this novel were magnificent.The grief of a family (as well as all the secrets and knotted relationships that can come unravelled from tragedy) is a subject worthy of exploration, and Cohen plumbs its depths well (if in a slightly pedantic and self-righteous voice). However, the exposition of the characters occur too often through their [...]

    12. Giulia on said:

      I'd give it4 stars .Ilovedthis book. I was blown away by Cohen's writing, every word seemed to pull me in. Her prose is beautiful.And I found the characters to be intricate yet so down to earth and relatable. I was really impressed by how the story went on, it looked like they were writing it and living it at the moment.I had no expectations about this book. I picked it up at the library and read the back cover, it seemed ok, the kind of plot I like, etcetera. Instead, it was so much more. I can [...]

    13. Sarah Swedberg on said:

      This is a very good book and worth reading. Maybe because it's about not being able to see the grief of others, I couldn't become very attached to any of the characters. They all seemed to exist on the surface, except for, perhaps Biscuit, as we see her experiencing grief more fully.It ends with a Greek-chorus like musing, which seemed too much like my students' conclusions: I have to wrap this up and so here it is.

    14. Michelle on said:

      The Grief of Others explores the breakdown of communication that typically results during periods of loss, no matter what the cause of the loss. Everyone handles loss differently, and through the eyes of six different characters, Ms. Cohen showcases the various ways others are affected by a typically internalized feeling. Often heartbreaking, The Grief of Others comes across as a warning shot to others who may be experiencing similar emotional upheaval. Unfortunately, what starts out as poignant [...]

    15. Frances on said:

      When I read a review of Leah Hager Cohen’s novel "The Grief of Others," I was curious how it would compare to Jonathan Franzen’s "Freedom." The books possess similar elements, a fraying family, suburbia, secrets. As readers of Booking Around are aware, I did not like "Freedom." I felt differently about The Grief of Others.The Ryries live outside of New York City in a pleasant neighborhood and have two children. John also has an elder daughter from a relationship in college and the Ryries hav [...]

    16. Diane on said:

      The Grief of Others is a heartbreaking story about the death of a newborn, and how such a loss affects the entire family. Ricky and John Ryrie's newborn son dies just days after birth, as a result of a serious birth defect. While this situation in itself would be painful enough to deal with, for the Ryries the situation is made worse by the fact, Ricky knew her risk was high for having an infant that might not survive, yet she chose to keep the info to herself, just in case the tests, indicating [...]

    17. Laurel-Rain on said:

      Loss presents itself in its many forms throughout this portrait of a family: the Ryries, who live in Nyack, NY, and seemingly live ordinary lives.When their third child is born anencephalic, his death is a certainty. In fact, he lives for fifty-seven hours.Then the family shifts into everyday life, with scarcely a blink, and their separate grief unfolds in symptomatic ways that reveal the testing of the bonds that connect them."The Grief of Others" is narrated in alternating perspectives, moving [...]

    18. Pam on said:

      iwriteinbooks.wordpress/20I started reading this earlier this week and I almost emailed Trisha to say I couldn’t handle this, right now. I’m glad that I pushed on, though because, aside from the obvious hard topics (hello, it’s called The GRIEF of Others), the story is a fabulous one.The hardest part for me was the axis of the story, centered on the loss of a couple’s child only fifty-seven hours after birth, just struck so close to my current fear and personal situation. The death of in [...]

    19. Candice on said:

      The writing was absolutely beautiful. There is much sadness in this book, but it is so exquisitely expressed. It's the story of a marriage, and the story of the effect of a baby's death on a family. The book begins with a beautifully written passage on the birth and death of a baby. It flashes forward a year to "This Year", and then back to the time of the baby's short life, "Last Year" and back again to "This Year." We get a good picture of what has been happening with the family.When Ricky Ryr [...]

    20. Don on said:

      Written after reading first 300 pages:Bottom line is that I'm enjoying this novel because I like the characters and want to know what happened to them. That’s why we enjoy any novel, right? That said—and I need to emphasize this: I like the book, I'm enjoying the book, I’m glad I'm reading it—-I feel the need to quibble just a little. The book feels a bit longish at places. Just a bit. And also: Cohen sometimes makes her characters unrealistically self-aware. For example: “[Ricky had] [...]

    21. Carol on said:

      The book skips around in time, and repeats scenes from the perspectives of different characters. This could be a provocative technique, but here it adds little to the overall experience. Late in the book, the narrative travels back eight years to show us, in real time, a family vacation that's been alluded to throughout the book. What should be a climactic and revelatory scene comes off flat and dull and my main reaction was annoyance.I think Cohen realized that her core story lacked excitement [...]

    22. Ellyn on said:

      This novel tells the story of the Ryrie family. After their infant son dies at 57 hours of age due to a birth defect, John and Ricky, and their children Paul and Biscuit, attempt to resume normal life and pretend nothing has happened while each is trying to deal with their own grief and sense of loss. John and Ricky struggle to maintain their marriage in the face of a painful secret, while Paul deals with bullying and Biscuit begins skipping school. Meanwhile, John's daughter from a long-ago rel [...]

    23. Lauren on said:

      Challenge: Read the first chapter of this book without crying.I am LOVING this book, which I discovered in 's list of "Recommended for You." I think Cohen's writing is stunning, and her characters are interesting and nuanced. And the first chapter just killed me. It is about a mother and her newborn, who was born with a fatal brain defect and lived for just two days. Beautifully written. Update: My early impressions of the book were accurate. This book is amazing -- exactly the kind of book I li [...]

    24. Michael on said:

      The Ryries tries to go back to their ordinary life, after losing their baby at birth at just fifty seven hours. Pretending that their that family is normal, they make out what is best for their children. Paul who is the oldest child is going through peer pressure at school and he only has one friend that would make his school life bearable. Their youngest daughter Biscuit who is not all that innocent as she appears to be, multiple of times she has tried to drown away her sorrows. Rick and John`s [...]

    25. M on said:

      3.5Hager Cohen is your classic 3.5 star writer. Her language is beautiful, her plots lagging. Her characters are well sketched, yet not that interesting. You feel as though you are reading a classic, except it doesn't actually contain that much.I enjoyed this book well enough - it was an insightful and actually interesting look at a conflict where a wife finds out her unborn child will have a horrible and fatal defect and she decides not to tell her husband lest he insist she abort - I think thi [...]

    26. Kami Tilby on said:

      Do you remember folding a paper in thirds, drawing a head, then passing the paper onto another person who wasn't allowed to see what you drew, who then drew a body, and the last person, not seeing either drawing, added legs? The picture you end up with is oddly incongruous, the parts don't fit together, although each part is great by itself. That's how this novel felt. There was such lovely writing, with a voice clear and lyrical and then this other voice would intrude, with it's harsh notes and [...]

    27. Birgit on said:

      A skilled portrayal of a married couple and their kids following the death of their youngest child. For all her skill at delving deep into the motivation, frustrations and personality of each character,I felt manipulated by the closing chapter. In it, the author for the first time addresses the reader with "What else do you want to know?" as if we were nothing but voyeurs along for the ride. She turns the mirror on us, and we're given a laundry list of mundane events among strangers, which is re [...]

    28. Michelle on said:

      3.5 stars. What a group of miserable characters, and I actually mean that as a compliment. There is a lot of humanity here, even when some of the characters are not particularly likeable. I did love the children Biscuit and Paul, who are both complex in their own right while still completely coming across as their stated ages. Very well handled. The first chapter is positively heartbreaking and gripping though I do think this story meandered some in the middle, which is why I didn’t rate it hi [...]

    29. Chris Witkowski on said:

      Deft writing, for sure, about a subject rife with emotion- the loss of a child, the unraveling of a marriage, the pain of children struggling with unspoken sorrows of their parents along with the anguish of growing up- but the writing is oddly dry and at times boring. A common theme running through the novel is the characters' need for redemption, to feel worthy in the eyes of others. I can't say I really understood this and found it strange so many of them had this need-maybe that's why they we [...]

    30. Janet on said:

      Loved this. So many times I pick up books about the struggles of families, only to find them very trite and predictable with no real deep emotional engagement. This, on the other hand, is so real and complex. I ended it feeling like I knew all the characters personally and had just spent time with them. This book doesn't distill the problems and issues this family faces into "good" or "bad" or solve them all neatly by the end--it's complicated, full of gray areas, and influenced by each characte [...]

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