Book #29

The Grief Nurse by Angie Spoto

Lynx is a Grief Nurse. Kept by the Asters, a wealthy, influential family, to ensure they're never troubled by negative emotions, she knows no other life. When news arrives that the Asters' eldest son is dead, Lynx does what she can to alleviate their Sorrow. As guests flock to the Asters' private island for the wake, bringing their own secrets, lies and grief, tensions rise. Then the bodies start to pile up.

Lynx is a grief nurse, one of a group of rare people who have the ability to eliminate grief. In Lynx’s world, grief nurses are employed by wealthy families to keep them Bright, and to ensure grief does not encroach upon their households. Holding someone’s grief token in her hands, Lynx can restore them to joyfulness with a twist of her fingers.

It’s a good premise, and raises many questions around the importance of grief. Although horrible to experience, could it be something we must endure to allow us to grow, to learn? Or would an instant removal improve our lives immeasurably, keeping us happy and content to continue? A difficult question which I’m still wrestling with.

I found a lot of the mechanics here to be confusing and jarring. There’s little information on the process of grief removal; we see it happening, but it seems so abstract and fantastical that it’s very difficult to understand. Spoto introduces a lot of terms, and a lot of various types of people, early on and I found it hazy.

We’re given a lot of flashbacks, and a lot of memories sparked by grief, so much so that it becomes hard to keep track of whose memory we are wading through at any given time. I’m unsure if this was intended, but it felt like a dream, and confusion is not a feeling I particularly like whilst trying to get to grips with a new world, with new rules and customs.

An excellent premise, and Spoto clearly has a labyrinth of an imagination, but I just couldn’t enjoy this as much as I’d have liked.