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94. Mrs Death Misses Death by Salena Godden

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Join us as we tackle this unusual book that mixes prose with poetry and a play script, in which Death is embodied in the form of an old black woman. Mrs Death befriends a young writer, Wolf, who agrees to ghost-write her memoirs.

Mrs Death has had enough. She is exhausted from spending eternity doing her job and now she seeks someone to unburden her conscience to. Wolf Willeford, a troubled young writer, is well acquainted with death, but until now hadn’t met Death in person – a black, working-class woman who shape-shifts and does her work unseen.


Enthralled by her stories, Wolf becomes Mrs Death’s scribe, and begins to write her memoirs. Using their desk as a vessel and conduit, Wolf travels across time and place with Mrs Death to witness deaths of past and present and discuss what the future holds for humanity. As the two reflect on the losses they have experienced – or, in the case of Mrs Death, facilitated – their friendship grows into a surprising affirmation of hope, resilience and love. All the while, despite her world-weariness, Death must continue to hold humans’ fates in her hands, appearing in our lives when we least expect her . . .

Laura and her book club had strong reactions towards this book, but can Kate and our guest, author Gary Wigglesworth, make the others see it in a different light. Listen in and see what you think.

Have you read it? Comment below and let us know your thoughts.

Book recommendations

Watership Down by Richard Adams

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders

I Am, I Am, I Am by Maggie O’Farrell

Unsettled Ground by Claire Fuller

A Lonely Man by Chris Power

Grief is the Thing With Feathers by Max Porter.



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