... achingly of its time ... I really appreciated Adichie’s discomfort with the language of grief ... Books often come to you just when you need them, and it is unimaginable to think just how many people have, like the author, lost someone in this singularly strange period of our history. Adichie’s father didn’t die from COVID-19, but that doesn’t make the aftermath of that loss any less relevant ... A book on grief is not the kind of book you want to have to give to anyone. But here we are.
The narrative interrupts itself, brings us up short, as Adichie is brought up short by the realisation that he is gone. This realisation sneaks up on her in sometimes unexpected ways, through the innocent questions of her four-year-old daughter, or through the fact of a death being sent out into the world by text, or in print, and made real ... Notes on Grief continues, in 30 short, lucid chapters, for 90 pages. It will not delay you long, but what it leaves will stay with you, like figures caught in a strobe light, lined up so closely that you can jump from one to another with a jolt that captures the jerkiness of the hours and days and weeks that follow the detonation ... Most of all I liked having a companion, rather than a guide, who didn’t try to advise me how to grieve properly but told me what it is like.
... slim, poignant ... Any one of us who have lost loved ones — even that euphemism feels deficient, for we have not lost anyone; we know too well what happened to them — can relate to Adichie’s anger and her compulsion to reshape it into guilt ... The loveliest writing in this reflection, however, is not about James Nwoye Adichie, but about the anguish and longing his death produces in those who suffer his absence most acutely.