Neuropsychologist Paul Broks combines an exploration of consciousness and mortality, framed within a personal experience of losing his wife to cancer. He warns the reader it is a ‘rambling, ramshackle house they’re about to enter’ where ‘fact sits alongside fiction’ and ‘science tangles with myth’. Acknowledging a shared human fragility, he intersperses descriptions of patients with neurological disorders who ’inhabit the twilight zones of the mind’ with a meandering series of visits to some of his own.
How does one cope with the enormity of losing all four siblings to cancer? In the preface to Carol A Caffrey’s poignant debut collection, The Untethered Space, she writes, ‘I turned to poetry […] to exhale the heavy burden of grief that weighed on me’. She goes on to extend an invitation, ‘pull up a chair and join me at the table.’ We accept, tentatively, in an expectation that is sure to tether reader and poet as we explore the meaning of grief in all of its guises.