One of the best books I've ever read on loss and mourning, Brian Dillon is proving to be one of my favorite writers, full stop. In The Dark Room is about the death of Dillon's parents when he was a teenager, part memoir, part philosophical disquisition aided by Bachelard, Cioran, and Barthes, amongst others. For all the intellectual precision of this book, it is profoundly moving, the perfect fit for my newly invented marketing niche: the Thinking Person's Grief Memoir.
Boldly combining the highly personal with the brilliantly scholarly, In the Dark Room explores the question of how memory works emotionally and culturally. It is narrated through the prism of the author's experience of losing both his parents, his mother when he was sixteen, his father when he was on the cusp of adulthood and of trying, after a breakdown some years later, to piece things together. Drawing on the lessons of centuries of literature, philosophy and visual art, Dillon interprets the relics of his parents and of his childhood in a singularly original and arresting piece of writing reissued for the first time since its original publication in 2005, and including a new foreword from prize-winning biographer Frances Wilson.
About the Author
Brian Dillon was born in Dublin in 1969. His books include Essayism, The Great Explosion (shortlisted for the Ondaatje Prize), Objects in This Mirror: Essays, I Am Sitting in a Room, Sanctuary, Tormented Hope: Nine Hypochondriac Lives (shortlisted for the Wellcome Book Prize) and In the Dark Room, which won the Irish Book Award for non-fiction. His writing has appeared in the Guardian, New York Times, London Review of Books, Times Literary Supplement, Bookforum, frieze and Artforum. He is UK editor of Cabinet magazine, and teaches Creative Writing at Queen Mary, University of London.