Mrs Death tells her intoxicating story in this life-affirming fire-starter of a novel
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 …
“A fantastically imaginative story about life, death and everything in between – a potent reminder that life is short and every second should be cherished”
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“Exquisite. A daring, poetic offering that establishes Godden as one of our most exciting voices. I loved it”
“A rhythmic and powerful poetic meditation on death, life and love and the hidden mysteries of the universe; both playful and sombre, hilarious and human”
“In this timely and exquisite meditation on breath and its best rhyme, we see a stunning performance poet crowding all the energy, wisdom, passion and laughs of her live work into the solid ingot of this astounding novel, as profound as Cohen, as playful as Brautigan. Salena Goddess, more like”
“It’s light, it’s dark, it’s twisted and it’s brilliant. As we all encounter life, so too we should all encounter Mrs Death. Poetry, prose, life and death. Salena Godden brings them together with ease. She is a wordsmith of the highest order”
Salena Godden is one of Britain’s best loved poets and performers. She is also an activist, broadcaster, memoirist and essayist and is widely anthologised. She has published several volumes of poetry, the latest of which was Pessimism is for Lightweights, and a literary childhood memoir, Springfield Road.
Mrs Death Misses Death is her debut novel. A BBC Radio 4 documentary following Godden’s progress on the novel over twelve months was broadcast in 2018. In November 2020 she was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.
@salenagodden | salenagodden.co.uk