Max Porters debut, the novella Grief is the Thing with Feathers opens in a London flat, as two young boys face the unbearable sadness of their mother’s sudden death. Their father, a Ted Hughes scholar and scruffy romantic, imagines a future of well-meaning visitors and emptiness. In their moment of despair they are visited by Crow - antagonist, trickster, healer, babysitter. This self-described sentimental bird is attracted to the grieving family and threatens to stay until they no longer need him. As weeks turn to months and physical pain of loss gives way to memories, this little unit of three begin to heal.
Exclusively for Foyles, we talked to Max about the relationship between his book and Ted Hughes’ work, Crow; how a meeting with a friend of his late father helped him re-shape the role of Crow in his book, and how writing has changed him as an editor.
Author photo © Lucy Dickens