The Plankton Collector, by Cath Barton

I had been meaning to read this novella, which won the New Welsh Writing Award in 2017, and I kept putting it off because it’s about grief, and it would be late, before bed, and that sounded depressing, but the book is anything but. From the very first sentence, it’s like being able to crawl into the lap of your grandmother or grandfather in a rocking chair. There’s a flow to the language which is like breathing in and out, or rocking gently in a boat, and then the characters are drawn with such subtly, honesty, and compassion. Even though the central event of the book is coming to terms with death, it was the David and Rose—the quiet disintegration and equally quiet rebuilding of a marriage—that had me riveted. This is a short, utterly original, very human, marvelous book.