In 2008, Marion Coutts' husband, the art critic Tom Lubbock, was diagnosed with a brain tumour, and told that he had not more than two years to live. The tumour was located in the area of the brain that controls speech and language, and would eventually rob him of the ability to speak. Tom was 53 when he died, leaving Marion and their son Eugene, just two years old, alone. In short bursts of beautiful, textured prose, Coutts describes the eighteen months leading up to Tom's death.
The Iceberg is an unflinching, honest exploration of staring death in the face, finding solace in strange places, finding beauty and even joy in the experience of dying. Written with extraordinary narrative force and power, it is almost shocking in its rawness. Nothing is kept from the reader: the fury, the occasional spells of selfishness, the indignity of being trapped in a hopeless situation. It is a story of pain and sadness, but also an uplifting and life-affirming tale of great fortitude, courage, determination – and above all, love.