Year One: A Record

John Tittensor, Author Penguin Books $4.95 (107p) ISBN 978-0-14-007299-0
The author, a gifted Australian writer, lost both of his young children in a fire, and this chronicles his first year of grief. The elegantly direct phrases convey the shattering enormity of his loss, and Tittensor quotes extensively from philosophers and from what he considers the slim canon of bereavement literature. Dismissing the lessons of Dylan Thomas's ""rage against the dying of the light'' and the ``passivity'' of Zen Buddhism, he found, rather, on reading The Blood of the Lamb, that Peter De Vries, for one, has ``been there.'' Further, he takes comfort from Gustav Meyrink in The Golem, who wrote, he quotes approvingly, that if ``knowledge and recollection are one and the same thing, nobody is really lost to us if we remember them.'' By book's end, 14 months after the tragedy, Tittensor, though still grieving, has come to accept his children's end and finds that ``they enrich me in death as they did in life.'' The author's journey from ``Ending'' through ``Survival'' to ``Beginning'' is heartrending and should provide a positive example to others suffering from the death of a loved one. (May)
Reviewed on: 05/01/1987
Release date: 05/01/1987
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