Books Magazine

Small Pieces: A Book of Lamentations by @JoanneLimburg

By Pamelascott
My mother, my family and Judaism are nested inside each other. I am Jewish and always Jewish; it's analogous with family, however hard it is, and however strained, it can never be disavowed... I remain, as my therapist put it, 'enmeshed', all tangled up in the family hoard. This book has been both a continuation of my conversations with them, and an attempt to untangle myself.

This is Joanne's account of coming to terms with her brother's suicide and through that process, the entirety of her family life. In Small Pieces Joanne explores her childhood, her Jewishness and her mother's death as well as that of her brother.

The life and family Joanne describes is a complex combination of conflicting influences - both scientific and literary; Jewish and humanist impulses; and Middle America and North London settings.

Small Pieces is a beautiful and searingly honest meditation on family and faith.


She will harrow this town, she will turn him up, whole or in pieces. Being a sister she knows that brothers are born to trouble. SISTER


(@AtlanticBooks, 6 July 2017, 304 pages, ebook, borrowed from @GlasgowLib via @OverDriveLibs)



I've become a fan of Limburg since I read her amazing poetry collection The Autistic Alice which made me cry a lot, especially the poems about her brother's suicide. I wanted to read this book because I've heard good things about it. The focus of this memoir is also her brother's suicide but also Limburg's family in general and her Jewish heritage. I found the Jewish references quite fascinating. I have no idea why. I don't know anyone Jewish and Judaism sounds like a complicated religion but I liked the way Limburg explores her faith and her family's faith between the page of this memoir. Her grief is evident on every page and this a painful book to read at times as Limburg struggles to understand why her brother took his own life and contemplates the signs she must have missed. She also explores her complex relationship with her mother. I really enjoyed this.

Small Pieces: Book Lamentations @JoanneLimburg

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