13,736 book reviews and counting...

Gratitude Reviews

Gratitude by Delphine de Vigan, George Miller

Gratitude

Delphine de Vigan, George Miller

3.60 out of 5

3 reviews

Imprint: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Publication date: 21 Jan 2021
ISBN: 9781526618856
3 stars out of 5
13 Feb 2021

"A slim novelette about an old lady with aphasia, its primary mode is one of absence: of memories, words – and even plot"

 That's about all there is in terms of action; the unremarkableness of the story is the point of it, and where its poignancy lies. Yet de Vigan is frustratingly reserved: themes are flirted with but hardly probed. Regret, language and the fallibility of memory are dealt with in one-liners: "Without language, what's left?"; "Ageing is growing used to loss." Enticing reflections like "what can still take my breath away after 10 years in the job, is how long childhood pain lasts" have zero follow-up.

Reviews

4 stars out of 5
28 Jan 2021

"Powerful portrait of old age resonates long after reading"

Gratitude is a short novel, easily read in one sitting, but its power resonates long after. There is a gentle magnificence at work in its pages; provocative questions are asked of the reader, who cannot escape confronting their own mortality in its presence. What remains afterwards is a sense of gratitude for the experience, one that ultimately inspires appreciation anew for the time we are given.

For the words we are gifted to narrate our own stories of that time. And the spur to say thank you, while we still can.

4 stars out of 5
17 Jan 2021

"Despite – or because of – its gappiness, there’s sadness in this simple tale"

In her dreams, Michka is plagued by guilt, and decides to try to find the couple who hid her from the Nazis in the war. That’s about all there is in terms of action; the unremarkableness of the story is the point of it, and where its poignancy lies. Yet de Vigan is frustratingly reserved: themes are flirted with but hardly probed. Regret, language and the fallibility of memory are dealt with in one-liners: “Without language, what’s left?”; “Ageing is growing used to loss.” Enticing reflections like “what can still take my breath away after 10 years in the job, is how long childhood pain lasts” have zero follow-up.