Book Buzz: Grief Cottage by Gail Godwin

" Godwin may flirt with the magical, but she deals firmly with the realism of depression and loss. It's those psychological ghosts that Grief Cottage is really about. " Washington Post



The haunting tale of a desolate cottage, and the hair-thin junction between this life and the next, from bestselling National Book Award finalist Gail Godwin.


After his mother's death, eleven-year-old Marcus is sent to live on a small South Carolina island with his great aunt, a reclusive painter with a haunted past. Aunt Charlotte, otherwise a woman of few words, points out a ruined cottage, telling Marcus she had visited it regularly after she'd moved there thirty years ago because it matched the ruin of her own life. Eventually, she was inspired to take up painting so she could capture its utter desolation.


The islanders call it "Grief Cottage" because a boy and his parents disappeared from it during a hurricane fifty years before. Their bodies were never found, and the cottage has stood empty ever since. During his lonely hours, while Aunt Charlotte is in her studio painting and keeping her demons at bay, Marcus visits the cottage daily, building up his courage by coming ever closer, even after the ghost of the boy who died seems to reveal himself. Full of curiosity and open to the unfamiliar and uncanny given the recent upending of his life, he courts the ghost boy, never certain whether the ghost is friendly or follows some sinister agenda.

Grief Cottage is the best sort of ghost story, but it is far more than that--an investigation of grief, remorse, and the memories that haunt us. The power and beauty of this artful novel wash over the reader like the waves on a South Carolina beach.

" [Godwin] remains a forensically skillful examiner of her characters' motives, thoughts and behavior. Grief Cottage revisits some of her favorite themes--fractured families, parentless children, the initial shock and long-term repercussions of death and disappearance, how the future can run off course in a flash--to make the very good point that it doesn't require a ghost to haunt a life . . . Deeply satisfying. "
New York Times

Grief Cottage by Gail Godwin

336 Pages

ISBN 9781632867056


Gail Godwin is a three-time National Book Award finalist and the bestselling author of more than a dozen critically acclaimed books, including Publishing, a memoir, and the novels Flora, Father Melancholy's Daughter, and Evensong. She has received a Guggenheim Fellowship, National Endowment for the Arts grants for both fiction and libretto writing, and the Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She lives in Woodstock, New York. www.gailgodwin.com.

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