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A distinguished poet's moving memoir of his wife who died in a car accident in 2005.

WINNER OF THE WALES BOOK OF THE YEAR

Loss, grief and love are the themes of this remarkable memoir from one of Britain’s most distinguished poets.

Some months after Dannie Abse’s wife Joan died in a car accident in June 2005, he began to write a diary which is both a record of present grief and a portrait of marriage which lasted more than fifty years. It is an extraordinary document, painful but celebratory; funny as well as sad, bursting with joy as well as sorrow and full of a deep understanding of what it means to be human.

Reviews

Abse's diary is a remarkable and tender document

Sunday Times

For all its painful honesty, [this is] a surprisingly joyful and compelling book... Imbued with all the best qualities of what it means to human and in love

Independent on Sunday

The Presence is a fragment of autobiography written from the most private part of a poet's heart, with a pen dipped in blood and tears. That it transcends this to become both elegiac and celebratory, to inhabit both the suffered present and the beloved past, places it almost beyond the scope of routine criticism.

Daily Telegraph

Hauntingly poignant... One hopes that he comes before long to share the happiness this wise, funny, heart rending little book brings to its readers

Daily Telegraph

Full of memorable images... As Abse performs the strange and also strangely valuable work of mourning, he offers, with The Presence, wit and balm

Financial Times

Elegy and eulogy, full of kindness and understanding of our common vulnerablility, this lovely book is a very rich boon

The Times

A supremely fresh and vital performance, matching profound emotion with witty observation... This is a truly marvellous book

Independent

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Formats & editions

  • Paperback

    9780099531869

    November 15, 2008

    Vintage

    288 pages

    RRP $29.99

    Online retailers

    • Abbey's Bookshop
    • Angus & Robertson Bookworld
    • Booktopia
    • Boomerang Books
    • Collins Booksellers
    • Dymocks
    • Books Kinokuniya
    • The Nile
    • QBD
    • Readings
    • Robinsons Bookshop
    Or

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

Also by Dannie Abse

Ask the Moon
Speak, Old Parrot
Two for Joy
New Selected Poems
Running Late
New And Collected Poems
Goodbye, Twentieth Century

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In Order To Live
Not Your Average Nurse
The Man Who Climbs Trees
Life Sentence
Not All Black and White
Autumn
No Place to Lay One's Head
The Fair and the Foul
What I Talk About When I Talk About Running
LGB I'm A Ballerina!
Death