BOOKS

Small Pieces

Joanne Limburg

RRP: £14.99

6 July 2017

Published by Atlantic Books

ISBN: 9781786492302

RRP: £8.99

6 July 2017

Published by Atlantic Books

ISBN: 9781786492319

My mother, my family and Judaism are nested inside each other. I am Jewish and always Jewish; it’s analogous with family, however hard it is, and however strained, it can never be disavowed… I remain, as my therapist put it, ‘enmeshed’, all tangled up in the family hoard. This book has been both a continuation of my conversations with them, and an attempt to untangle myself.

This is Joanne’s account of coming to terms with her brother’s suicide and through that process, the entirety of her family life. In Small Pieces Joanne explores her childhood, her Jewishness and her mother’s death as well as that of her brother.

The life and family Joanne describes is a complex combination of conflicting influences – both scientific and literary; Jewish and humanist impulses; and middle America and North London settings.

Small Pieces is a beautiful and searingly honest meditation on family and faith.

REVIEWS

Gripping, heart-breaking, challenging - this memoir about a family in crisis is a must-read.Sophie Hannah

After Joanne Limburg's brother committed suicide, she and her mother flew to the American midwest to bury him. Only there was no body to bury because he'd already been cremated. This is the starting point for a journey of reparation, to honour her brother's memory and the Jewish religion they both abandoned. Limburg re-treads the childhood that she and Julian shared, fearlessly confronting her loss, rage, grief and regret at every turn. In asking how it is possible to bear the unbearable, she uncovers those small pieces of memory and experience that we can salvage for consolation, and with startling insight and humour, she weighs the peculiar burdens and joys of family and faith.Marina Benjamin

powerful memoir... a courageous piece of work and a valuable contribution to our understanding of mental health issues, and indeed suicide.
Jewish Chronicle

Touching... Joanne describes the events surrounding the deaths of her brother and mother with extreme pathos.
Jewish Telegraph

Can a writer be too honest? At times you want to close this book to protect its subject.Hilary Mantel
Guardian on THE WOMAN WHO THOUGHT TOO MUCH

Sharply self-aware... An articulate guide to the workings of the tormented mind.
Daily Telegraph on THE WOMAN WHO THOUGHT TOO MUCH

A painstaking account of life dominated by debilitating anxiety... Exceptional... [with] rare poetic insight, her candid narrative evokes both pity and admiration.
Metro on THE WOMAN WHO THOUGHT TOO MUCH

[Limburg] brings the clear, unsentimental poet's eye to her personal history... Moving and compelling, full of dark humour and insight.
Sunday Business Post on THE WOMAN WHO THOUGHT TOO MUCH

Judicious and elegant, lucid and spry, Joanne Limburg uses her uncommon gifts to anatomise an all-too-common disorder. She brings a sort of glee to the process: for all the unhappiness she describes, this remains a joyous read.Kate Clanchy on THE WOMAN WHO THOUGHT TOO MUCH

Brave, witty, intelligent, wise, and honest, it is the story of a lifelong battle with neurosis, but it transcends pathology, uncovering the extraordinary underside of all our 'ordinary' consciousness. Her unremitting candour liberates us all.Raymond Tallis on THE WOMAN WHO THOUGHT TOO MUCH