The Elements (Hardback)
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'Powerful, humane and deeply affecting, Lister's wise and truthful writing makes this essential reading for anyone touched, and utterly confused, by grief.' Sali Hughes
'The must-read memoir' Red
What does it mean to become a widow at 35?
In her mid-thirties Kat Lister lost her husband to brain cancer. After five years of being a wife and one of being a carer, in love and in and out of hospitals, she became a widow.
In the year following his death Kat seeks refuge in stories of grief and widowhood, but struggles to find a language that can make sense of her experience and the physicality of bereavement. Instead, she turns to the elements – fire, water, earth, air – on her quest to come to terms with her grief, to inhabit her body again, and to find out who she is now.
The Elements is a story of love, pain, hope and, ultimately, transformation.
Kat Lister is a writer and editor based in London. Beginning her career as a music journalist at the NME, she has gone on to write widely for publications including VICE, the Guardian, Marie Claire, Vogue and The Feminist Times, where she was appointed Contributing Editor. In 2017, she joined the editorial team at The Pool, becoming a freelance features and news editor until its demise in 2019. Since her husband's death in 2018, she has focused on investigating her experience of grief, writing widely circulated essays and features for the Sunday Times Magazine, Sunday Times Style and The Pool.
'Powerful, humane and deeply affecting, Lister's wise and truthful writing makes this essential reading for anyone touched, and utterly confused, by grief.'
'The must-read memoir. A moving, bruising and meditative memoir and love story … Beautifully written, The Elements, will strike a chord with anyone who's been touched by grief.'
'A staggering book. Kat writes with such hypnotic lyricism.'
'It is not just one of the most beautiful books I've ever read, exploring grief through the elements of the cosmos, it is the only book I've read that has made me feel less alone. A must read even if it's not your own experience.'
'A stunning and immersive examination of grief; of making a new future; the body as a site of "wrongness" and "re-entry" after bereavement … it veers from melancholy to rage and joy.'
'It knocked me for six: the honesty in it, the frankness, the detail, the research, the feeling, and such stunning writing … it's not just about losing someone. It's about rebuilding.'
'The writing will make you stop to catch your breath, it's hopeful in ways you won't expect at all, and the smallest moments will break your heart.'
'It is lyrical. It is wise. It is physical in its longing … Destined to become a classic. The Elements is a gift; not so much a map but a compass, to a landscape we long not to visit but many of us do.'
Brilliant, beautiful, moving.
'Such a searingly honest book that will stop you cold with its beauty. Kat's unique voice and perspective on death, love and womanhood really get under your skin. This is a book about grief but it's also about finding a sense of self after a deep loss, and hoping above everything for something wonderful that feels very much like joy.'