A Still Life by Josie George Living with Chronic Illness review by Duffythewriter

‘I can’t think of many books where the reader feels so passionately on the side of the narrator’ GUARDIAN
‘A profound redefinition of the very idea of vitality’ FINANCIAL TIMES

Josie George lives in a tiny terraced house in the urban West Midlands with her son. Since her early childhood, she has lived with the fluctuating and confusing challenge of disabling chronic illness. 

But Josie’s world is surprising, intricate, dynamic. She has learned what to look for: the routines of her friends at the community centre; the neighbourhood birds in flight; the slow changes in the morning light, in her small garden, in her growing son, in herself.

In January 2018, Josie sets out to tell the story of her still life, over the course of a year. As the seasons shift, and the tides of her body draw in and out, Josie begins to unfurl her history. And against a world which values progress and productivity above all else, Josie sets out a quietly radical alternative: to value and treasure life for life itself, with all its great and small miracles.

Duffy’s Thoughts on A Still Life

I was a little apprehensive taking on A Still Life to read and review. It was that slump between Christmas and New Year when you feel lethargic, muddled and apprehensive about the year to come. Would reading a memoir about suffering and life-long invisible illness be helpful? Or, would it send my mood even lower?

Let’s be honest, A Still Life was never going to be a laugh out loud account of how fun it is to live with chronic illness. However, Josie George has an amazing talent for writing. Her prose is poetic and at times almost sent me into a calm, meditative state. As the seasons shift and Josie tells the story of her life from childhood, but also over the course of one year, she shares not only a personal story but also a dazzling writing talent.

A Still LIfe shows that if you change perspective on what could be perceived as a relatively small life, you unfurl one that is detailed, rich and full.

If you are feeling in a self-reflective or contemplative mood, then dive into A Still Life, you won’t be disappointed.

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Published by Bloomsbury and available in all good bookstores