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Words for Lucy

A story of love, loss and the celebration of life

Marion Halligan



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Thames & Hudson
29 March 2022


How do you survive the loss of a dearly loved child? Lucy Halligan was born with a heart defect, which limited her physical activities, but not her appetite for enjoyment nor her curiosity and lively interest in the world about her. She survived until she was nearly forty, and now her mother, the acclaimed author, survives without her. This moving book is a fragmentary approach to shared life, and flickers back and forth through the years, before, during and after Lucy's death. It is not chronological, but nor is grief, which takes no notice of the calendar's linear approach to time. Altogether, a story not just about loss, but of joy and endurance and gratitude for the quiet beauties of living.  Lindy

One morning, Lucy Halligan lay on her bed with her cat and went to sleep. Soon after, her heart stopped. But her mother, writer Marion Halligan, forced hers to keep beating.

More joy than sorrow, this profoundly moving memoir celebrates Lucy's life, weaving together everyday details and treasured events.

Words for Lucy sees Marion at the peak of her writing powers, telling the story of a mother surviving the aftershocks of death and finding the space to live.

'A sublime book about the small joys that make up a treasured life, from a writer of unfathomable grace and stoicism.' - Alice Pung

'This is a gentle, intense reconstruction of a rich and potent past, a bright gift of grace in sorrow.' - Carmel Bird
 Words for Lucy: A story of love, loss and the celebration of life

Imprint:   Thames & Hudson
Country of Publication:   Australia
Dimensions:   Height: 243mm,  Width: 145mm,  Spine: 17mm
Weight:   296g
ISBN:   9781760762209
ISBN 10:   1760762202
Pages:   224
Publication Date:  
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Marion Halligan AM is an Australian writer and novelist. She has written twenty-three books, including six works of non-fiction and five short story collections, and one play. She has also served as chair of the Literature Board of the Australia Council and the Australian National Word Festival. She was appointed Member of the Order of Australia (AM), General Division, in 2006 for services to literature and for her work in promoting Australian writing.

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