To register to be human—as Kertész does—under unbearable circumstances reminds me of the fragility of life, of being human. Kertész writes so I’m forced into a timeline; I have to become a witness to what happens. This book has made me grow both as an author and a human.
The Sorrows of Young Werther
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Reading this book is the experience of losing someone while reading. It’ll make you grieve; it’ll make you feel. It makes you consider why a person might not want to live anymore. I think Goethe wants to say that love is the biggest thing of all, but it has its consequences.
No writer has the same ability of describing emptiness and loneliness as Sebald. He has the ability to pay attention to details and rare existences that make your own perspective bigger. As someone mourning, those details can also anchor you to reality.
Death in Venice
A manifestation of how longing becomes sorrow. To me, this is a tragedy that makes you enjoy the tragedy as suffering turns into great art. The meaningless becomes meaningful when Mann writes, and grief become tolerable.
This book consists of six conversations about the essence of love. Without love: no sorrow. I may have misunderstood Plato, but after reading Symposium, I want to believe that grief is the shadow of love.
In Every Moment We Are Still Alive
I’m not sure I trust memoirs, especially memoirs about grief. Telling a story is always a fiction because we’re constrained by our limited perspective. This is why I call my book In Every Moment We Are Still Alive a novel. It’s more trustworthy if I can acknowledge that I’m limited by how I experienced the loss of my wife and father, while at the same time becoming a father myself.
When creating a list of books about grief, I naturally gravitated toward books that I believe speak a Truth, even if it’s fiction. As heavy, sad, and painful as it can be to discuss loss, finding the art in a sea of meaninglessness ultimately tethers me to life and helps me feel love again.
Featured Image: Hadis Safari/Unsplash; Featured Illustration: Elsa Jenna; Author Photo: Viktor Gardsater