Fiction Books About Grief

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How to Make Friends with the Dark

How to Make Friends with the Dark

Here is what happens when your mother dies.
It's the brightest day of summer and it's dark outside. It's dark in your house, dark in your room, and dark in your heart. You feel like the darkness is going to split you apart.
That's how it feels for Tiger. It's always been Tiger and her mother against the world. Then, on a day like any other, Tiger's mother dies. And now it's Tiger, alone.
Here is how you learn to make friends with the dark.

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The Ghost Notebooks

The Ghost Notebooks

When Nick Beron and Hannah Rampe decide to move from New York City to the tiny upstate town of Hibernia, they're in desperate need of a change: their careers have flatlined, the city is exhausting, and they've reached a relationship stalemate. So Hannah accepts a job as live-in director of the Wright Historic House, a museum dedicated to an obscure nineteenth-century philosopher whose life was marred by tragedy.  Then one morning, Nick wakes up to find Hannah gone. In his frantic search for her, Nick will discover the hidden legacy of Wright House: a man driven wild with grief, and a spirit aching for home.

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The Traveling Cat Chronicles

The Traveling Cat Chronicles

An instant international bestseller and indie bestseller, The Travelling Cat Chronicles has charmed readers around the world. With simple yet descriptive prose, this novel gives voice to Nana the cat and his owner, Satoru, as they take to the road on a journey with no other purpose than to visit three of Satoru's longtime friends. Or so Nana is led to believe...

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A Man Called Ove

A Man Called Ove

Meet Ove. He’s a curmudgeon—the kind of man who points at people he dislikes as if they were burglars caught outside his bedroom window. He has staunch principles, strict routines, and a short fuse. People call him “the bitter neighbor from hell.” But must Ove be bitter just because he doesn’t walk around with a smile plastered to his face all the time? Behind the cranky exterior there is a story and a sadness.

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A Monster Calls

A Monster Calls

The bestselling novel and major film about love, loss and hope from the twice Carnegie Medal-winning Patrick Ness. An unflinching, darkly funny, and deeply moving story of a boy, his seriously ill mother, and an unexpected monstrous visitor, featuring stunning artwork by Jim Kay.

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Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

Nine-year-old Oskar Schell has embarked on an urgent, secret mission that will take him through the five boroughs of New York. His goal is to find the lock that matches a mysterious key that belonged to his father, who died in the World Trade Center on the morning of September 11. This seemingly impossible task will bring Oskar into contact with survivors of all sorts on an exhilarating, affecting, often hilarious, and ultimately healing journey.

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The Cactus

The Cactus

People aren't sure what to make of Susan Green. Family and colleagues find her prickly and hard to understand - but Susan makes perfect sense to herself. Age 45, she thinks her life is perfect. She has a London flat which is ideal for one; a steady job that suits her passion for logic; and a personal arrangement providing cultural and other, more intimate, benefits. Yet suddenly faced with the loss of her mother and, implausibly, with the possibility of becoming a mother herself, Susan's greatest fear is being realised: she is losing control. And things can only get worse ... at least in Susan's eyes.

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Something Like Happy

Something Like Happy

Annie is stuck. In her boring job, with her irritating roommate, in a life no thirty-five-year-old would want. But deep down, she’s still mourning the terrible loss that tore a hole through her perfect existence. Until she meets the eccentric Polly. Bright, bubbly, intrusive Polly is determined to wake her new friend up to life. Because if recent events have taught Polly anything, it’s that your time is too short to waste a single day. Told with wry wit and boundless heart, Something Like Happy is an unforgettable tale of celebrating triumphs great and small, seizing the day, and always remembering to live in the moment.

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A Little Life

A Little Life

A Little Life follows four college classmates—broke, adrift, and buoyed only by their friendship and ambition—as they move to New York in search of fame and fortune. While their relationships, which are tinged by addiction, success, and pride, deepen over the decades, the men are held together by their devotion to the brilliant, enigmatic Jude, a man scarred by an unspeakable childhood trauma. A hymn to brotherly bonds and a masterful depiction of love in the twenty-first century, Hanya Yanagihara’s stunning novel is about the families we are born into, and those that we make for ourselves.

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Grief is one of the most complex phases in life.

It is a powerful emotion which every human being will grapple with many times during the course of there existence. Isn’t it surprising then that, although it is a collective experience, it is one of the least explained?

Grief is nearly impossible for most of us to openly talk about, even with our loved ones. This is true in times of peace just as well as in times of hardship. Grief is a topic of difficult conversation many of us will not have.

The emotions we experience while grieving are often far too intricate, painful, and varied to seek relief through conversation alone. It is no wonder then that people often find the explanations they’re seeking in works of fiction.

Reading fiction books about grief can help us

  • feel less alone after a loss
  • understand the beauty of life
  • explore the place of death in our hearts, minds, and cultures
  • escape into another person’s pain while learning strategies to face our own

We hope you find these fiction books about grief helpful if you are processing the recent loss of a loved one, revisiting old memories, or learning to accept death. There are many personal development books about grief that are easy to find and read in times of hardship, but we find fiction can explore these difficult topics through the relatable approach of story as a deeper example of what you may be going through.

Thanks for Reading

This book recommendation list will continue to grow. Check back for more titles and even submit one you feel should be included in our next update to our editor at bex@outofthebex.com

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Bex Skoog

Bex Skoog

Bex Skoog is the creator of the 'Out of the Bex' website, a guide to a more thoughtful life through books and simple living. If she had three wishes they would be for teacups to never empty, to possess an unending supply of classic films, and have access to the world's greatest libraries. Bex lives in Virginia outside of Washington D.C. with her husband and hundreds of stray books.

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Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the page above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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