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Mrs Death Misses Death
By Salena Godden
Published By

Canongate Books

Fiction Genre Other
Publication Date 01/28/2021
Price 14.99
Hardcopy Hyperlink https://www.waterstones.com/book/mrs-death-misses-death/salena-godden/9781838851194


Mrs Death is exhausted from spending eternity doing her job and now she seeks someone to unburden her conscience to. Wolf Willeford, a troubled young writer, is well acquainted with death, but until now hadn’t met Death in person – a black, working-class woman who shape-shifts and does her work unseen.

Authors Biography

Salena Godden is one of Britain’s best loved poets and performers. She has published several volumes of poetry. Mrs Death Misses Death is her debut novel and was shortlisted for the Gordon Burn Prize. In November 2020 she was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.


This is not light-hearted stuff, yet Godden has produced a miraculously light-hearted novel . . . an elegant, occasionally uproarious, danse macabre – Guardian

Dark at times – with compelling stories about miscarriages of justice, murder and oppression – it is nonetheless celebratory and life-affirming, aglow with love, fortitude and compassion – Daily Mail

Where her prose is often frank and conversational, her poetry is sparse and raw . . . Mrs Death Misses Death is both a balm to a bad year and a reassuring accompaniment to a new one – Irish Times

Highly original . . . This lyrical tale asks potent questions about class, race, gender while examining society’s fraught and often complex relationship with mortality – Cosmopolitan

A profoundly hopeful book, full of inspiring feats of imagination . . . all the while making sharp observations about gender, race, happiness – Harper’s Bazaar

This book will surely raise some tears and leave you drained in places but then convinced to grab life and love in all its forms – NB magazine

Leave a comment about this book:


  1. Highly recommended!

  2. Superb.

  3. A must read.

  4. A truly extraordinary book. Each page carries great shafts of emotion, insight, inspiration and empathy – a stunning achievement.

  5. The best book I’ve read in years. Dark, prophetic, poetic and a comfort to all of us who know grief. This book is as much about life as it is death.

  6. read it once and went right back to the beginning,,, Marrrrrrvelous .

  7. An amazing concept beautifully written.

  8. I loved this book. Don’t be put off by the title – it’s full of life and written with love.

  9. Such a beautiful and timely book.

  10. Such a good book, happy and sad, funny and thought-provoking. The only book I’ve read twice this year

  11. Beautiful book about life; the sorrows and joy we all share.

  12. Loved this book it got me through alot this year, Bought for me by a very dear friend 😘…OS
    Beautifully written, its due for another read now x

  13. Spending time with this novel was a treasure and a privilege. It’s though performance, the epistolary tradition, poetry, every sort of writing category pull together in a singular experience. Wonderful.

  14. I loved this book so much I bought extra copies to give away

  15. Challenging, engaging and titillating all at once. There’s nothing else like this on your book shelf

  16. Challenging, engaging and titillating. You have nothing else like this on your book shelf.

  17. For all its darkness, ‘Mrs Death Misses Death’ is full of joy, for all the tragedy there is humour and warmth, and hope. Salena Godden has written a book that lives in the memory, infused with poetry, song, and spoken word, but greater than the sum of these, a novel, which bears powerful witness to the distant voices of the forgotten.

  18. Exceptional. Dark, warm, difficult to take and easy as a chat with a close friend. A very special book.

  19. Magic!

  20. There is no one else like Salena Godden, such a staggeringly original and masterful piece of writing,

  21. I fancy her x

  22. A moving and poignant novel. You need to stop after each chapter to reflect on the ore inspiring things you have just read. A positive, life affirming book which helps you feel a little better about the inevitability of death.

  23. Stunning, smart and moving. I loved it.

  24. I’m not sure it’s actually a book. It looks like a book….but if you open it and read it… I’m not sure.. It’s not like other books. I think it may be alive. Like a sentient book? Ironic, given the title. Anyway… it’s F#@+ING amazing.

  25. A book about death that is really a manifesto for life

  26. Love this book!

  27. Loved this book, burning with life on every page. Totally original, gloriously written and a recognition of one of life’s great truths – that it ends.

  28. Loved this book, burning with life on every page. Totally original, gloriously written and a recognition of one of life’s great truths – that it ends.

  29. Loved this so much. So beautiful and revolting in equal measure – a true masterpiece!

  30. Highly recommended! Smart, moving, incredibly well written.

  31. Wonderful

  32. This book is so rich – in poetry, prose, dialogue- Godden plays beautifully with language and I loved the characters she created and the glimpse of wrongdoings past. Read it!

  33. The poetry of love – and loss – and all the messy humanity of joy and suffering – bounds from the pages of this incredible debut. Highlight of the year…

  34. You need this book in your brain!

  35. THE BEST BOOK and one of my all time favourites!

  36. Listened to this wonderful woman at Cheltenham Literature Festival and was totally inspired by her spoken words to read her written words

  37. The greatest book about the inevitable that I have read, Salena Godden is the voice we need right. Some one give her the keys to running the world before it’s too late.

  38. Wonderful book! Like nothing I have ever read before. Funny, moving, poetic, readable, and hugely relevant to the world of today.

  39. Loved it. Deserves this prize x

  40. Absolutely magical. Open at any page and there are words to make you laugh or contemplate or wonder but not to weep. Enjoyed it so much!! xx

  41. This book arrived the day my Mother died – I almost felt that it had been written just for me… Wonderful, uplifting and a place to write the names of those who we have have loved and lost so that they will never been forgotten. Just beautiful…

  42. What a book. Simply fabulous and so original.

  43. When you also listen to the audio version narrated by the author you will too be in awe like me. #mustread

  44. As a recently bereaved husband, this book was a refreshing, wry, sideways look at the last unwelcomed companion none of us can avoid.

    The book made an impact on me …

    … nearly as much as the old cast iron drainpipe that broke, fell, and hit me on the side of the head as I read it in my carelessly slung hammock.

    Fortunately, the star of the book let me off that time ……

  45. Wasn’t the least surprised I was transfixed over this book from the start. It has been my favourite this year. Salena’s way with written, and spoken words, is so powerful. Loved it and already on a couple of Xmas book gift lists.

  46. Love this unique exploration of death and life, highly original and brilliant for book club discussion.

  47. Life-affirming and so original!

  48. Mrs Death visited with me a while again this year. This time she left with my Dad. I had been waiting for the “right” time to read this book and it was now. Reading and re-reading passages through the showers of tears I was unable to put it down. Hard work at times for the sensitive, bruised heart, yet hauntingly beautiful, highly recommend. Thank you Ms Godden for your work and your light.

  49. One of my top reads of 2021, this is such an original, urgent, beautiful novel. A reading experience that will change you.

  50. I have been working on fictional representations of grief for a while so my expectations were high when I heard of this book (and its great title), and it certainly did not disappoint! Each page is a haunting exploration of the multi-faceted journey of mourning and I can’t wait to plunge deeper into Salena Godden’s work and art. Congratulations on such a brilliant achievement!

  51. A book with death in the title twice that’s so full of life. Wonderful, inspirational, packed to the rafters with mottos for life – you’ll be hooked from the first line of the disclaimer onwards. Mrs Death Misses Death is about choosing hope while never being in denial of life’s obstacles. Read it!

  52. If this book was food, I would have eaten it all up and licked my fingers one by one! Best book I have read in a long time!

  53. A few things in my life had made me cry with their beauty and this book was one of few

  54. Simply AWSOME

  55. An extraordinary and groundbreaking book. Both profound and an absolute riot. Energy and wisdom sing off the page and beat an irresistable drum. I loved this book!

  56. An incredible book that I just want to read and listen to again and again!

  57. I love Wolf, and Mrs Death, and everyone else who appears in the story including a sentient desk.

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