Issue Details: First known date: 2012 2012
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'In his recent review of Joan Didion's Blue Nights (2011), critic and writer Andrew Riemer admitted to feeling uneasy. While acknowledging that many readers would respond differently, he noted that reading about Didion's grief over the loss of her daughter made him feel 'like an intruder into very private sorrow'. Riemer questioned the ethics of writing about the death of a child for publication. Asserting that grief was essentially mute, he argued that Didion should have stayed silent in the face of her extraordinary losses. At a time when memoirs about bereavement and loss are enjoying unprecedented popularity, Riemer's suggestions raise important issues for writers and readers of memoir. In this article I offer close readings of two recent memoirs of bereavement, Virginia Lloyd's The Young Widow's Book of Home Improvement (2008a) and Maggie MacKellar's When it Rains (2010), in order to explore some of the narrative strategies at work and to suggest that it is the very act of writing, specifically of crafting and shaping a narrative for publication, that enacts healing. ' (Author's abstract)

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Last amended 14 Aug 2012