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'I felt changed': Max Porter on the book everyone should read about grief


Written after the death of her son, Denise Riley’s Time Lived, Without Its Flow finds radical and consoling ways to understand bereavement

I wrote a short novel about grief. One of its central conceits was that two siblings who had lost a parent would speak in one voice, for each other, against each other, in a state of play. A language game of ever-mourning. For them, time was unfixed. Their childhoods, their growing into teenagers then adults, their notional futures as parents and as dead men themselves, this was all present in the nowness of their storytelling.

These children were an autobiographical device. I had been trying to find a way of writing about what it is like to lose a parent. About growing up in cahoots with my time-travelling co-conspirator (my brother) along our illusory and twisting lateral axis, backwards and make-believe-forwards, about what seemed like a distinct way we had of seeing other people, granted to us by the absence. To us it seemed as if we had our own time and our own sight, defined by what we shared. And I had wanted to write about that, in an attempt to better grasp it.

Riley shows us that the 'time of the dead is, from now on, contained within your own

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