DIANE AWERBUCK reviews DEATH AND THE AFTER PARTIES by JOANNE HICHENS for the Sunday Times

THE KISS OF DEATH

The aptly titled Death and the After Parties is Joanne Hichens’s long-awaited memoir following four sudden horrifying deaths in her family. Blisteringly accurate, humorous and lyrical, the book follows her investigations into how we mourn, and how she nearly lost herself in that process. Hichens initially began a scholarly dissertation on grieving soon after her mother’s death, titled “Loss and the City”, which examined Cape Town’s tortured past and present – the losses of land and identity. Then her husband died, and her theory was proven in hard and personal practice.

The passing of seven years since his death has given Hichens a clarity of thought even in the ongoing chaos and fever of grief. The memoir is divided into five parts, a kind of guide to grieving.

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