Time Lived, Without Its Flow by Denise Riley

Astonishingly honest, Denise Riley's essay reflecting on the loss of her son addresses emotions known by most but often left unexpressed

Book Review by Kerri Logan | 03 Oct 2019
  • Time Lived, Without Its Flow
Book title: Time Lived, Without Its Flow
Author: Denise Riley

Time Lived, Without Its Flow is an astonishingly honest and profound essay on a mother’s grief from critically acclaimed poet Denise Riley. A companion to her collection Say Something Back, Riley’s essay is a superb reflection on the altered perception of time after you lose a loved one. Time Lived, Without Its Flow is made up of diary entries written after the sudden death of Riley’s son, followed by an insightful and reflective essay written some years later.

Riley addresses emotions that are known by most yet often left unexpressed. Emotional and eloquent, intelligent and ruminative, Riley manages to articulate with such grace and candour the mysterious experience of loss and the way in which it suspends our usual understanding of time. While discussing the very unique pain that is felt by a mother who loses her child, Riley’s prose also provides an accessible kind of counsel that can bring comfort to all forms of grief.

A very short book that packs a very meaningful punch, Time Lived, Without Its Flow is a wonderful piece of work that will leave its reader feeling all the more wiser for having read it.

Picador, 3 Oct, £9.99