The Iceberg
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The Iceberg


In 2008, Marion Coutts' husband, the art critic Tom Lubbock, was diagnosed with a brain tumour, and told that he had not more than two years to live. The tumour was located in the area of the brain that controls speech and language, and would eventually rob him of the ability to speak. Tom was 53 when he died, leaving Marion and their son Eugene, just two years old, alone. In short bursts of beautiful, textured prose, Coutts describes the eighteen months leading up to Tom's death.

The Iceberg is an unflinching, honest exploration of staring death in the face, finding solace in strange places, finding beauty and even joy in the experience of dying. Written with extraordinary narrative force and power, it is almost shocking in its rawness. Nothing is kept from the reader: the fury, the occasional spells of selfishness, the indignity of being trapped in a hopeless situation. It is a story of pain and sadness, but also an uplifting and life-affirming tale of great fortitude, courage, determination – and above all, love.

Title:The Iceberg
Edition Language:English
Format Type:Hardcover
Number of Pages:294 pages

    The Iceberg Reviews

  • Rebecca Foster
    Jul 13, 2014

    (I have posted a concise version of my review at The Bookbag.)“Something has happened. A piece of news. We have had a diagnosis that has the status of an event. The news makes a rupture with what we...

  • Imi
    Oct 28, 2014

    I feel utterly privileged to have been able to read this book. Of course, a memoir about a husband's illness and eventual death from a brain tumour is by no means an easy read. It's personal, intimate...

  • Andrea James
    Mar 15, 2015

    Perhaps it's because, like the author's husband, my dad's final life-ending tumour affected his language centre that I was particularly drawn to the writing in this book. I can see how some people may...

  • Elizabeth
    Dec 26, 2014

    Marion Coutts's memoir about her husband's diagnosis, treatment and eventual death from, a brain tumour is an incredibly accomplished book. The prose is dense, poetic, sometimes hard and often require...

  • Lynda
    Aug 24, 2014

    This is an awesome but privileged book. Awesome in the sense that Courts chooses to expose herself and her family in their most intimate dance with death. She accomplishes this both passionately and d...

  • Claire Fuller
    Dec 21, 2014

    I tried to savour this beautiful book; to allow myself only a little taste every day, not just because I knew how it would end and I wanted to delay that, but because the writing is rich, full-flavour...

  • Shawn
    Aug 18, 2015

    Haunting. Poetic. Brilliant. An artistic retelling of love and incomprehensible loss. Lyrical, with word pictures that make you catch your breath. Not something you're happy about reading, but somethi...

  • Joanne  Clarke Gunter
    Jan 13, 2016

    This is an extraordinary memoir. The story is moving, as a memoir about your husband dying from brain cancer should be, but it is the writing and the poetic way the author tells of her family's experi...

  • Zora
    Jun 15, 2014

    Almost totally cliche free book about watching a loved one die, incredible. ...

  • Cathrine
    Feb 15, 2015

    Beyond beautiful !...

About Marion Coutts

Marion Coutts is an artist and writer. She was born in Nigeria and studied in Scotland. She works in video, film, sculpture and photography. Her work has been exhibited widely nationally and internationally, including solo shows at Foksal Gallery, Warsaw, Yorkshire Sculpture Park and The Wellcome Collection, London. She has held fellowships at Tate Liverpool and Kettle's Yard, Cambridge. In 2001 s