O! Relentless Death! Celebrity, Loss and Mourning by Andrew and Lee Fearnside

Do you remember that point in 2016 when there seemed to be a celebrity death every day, and there was loads of political unrest, and it just felt generally scary and terrible? It sucked. Creating something beautiful out of the darkness, Andrew and Lee Fearnside channelled their thoughts and feelings and created this slim volume. It’s a collection of essays and poems by various writers intercut with lino prints of celebrities and gravestone art that was a big prize winner at the Independant Publisher Book Awards.

The book starts with David Bowie, and takes us through a list of people we lost that year, from Alan Rickman, Prince and Gene Wilder to Carrie Fisher and her mother Debbie Reynolds. Man, that was a bad year. Each person gets a beautiful artwork of their face, and an essay or poem or two from a different person about what they meant to them. Since the whole book is in black and white, and interspersed with artwork that explores deathly images, it must be really dark, right? Not at all. Reading this volume, I felt something very special. In my hands I held a labour of love, an out pouring of vulnerability and greif, but most of all of love. We loved these people who left us, and though we may not have known them personally, often through them we found identity or felt known, felt a kinship or a joy in their work. There is so much heart and the beauty of life in this book, and even an understanding that greif has it’s beauty too.

Leonard Cohen

It always amazes me how much impact singers, artists, writers, actors and other celebrities can have on our life. When their lives end, it can feel so personal. We are led to re-explore how they impacted us. When we first came across them. What they meant. We integrate their style into our own wardrobes, or their words into our personal philosophy. I loved reading the stories in this book about how people’s lives were touched, and I ended up feeling moved, protective of the people who shared in this book, and in the end, it was sort of uplifting and cathartic.

If you are a fan of celebrity, if you were touched by loss that year, or perhaps by other losses, this is a beautiful book and one that celebrates an essential part of life: death.

Thank you Andrew and Lee Fearnside for sending me this book for review. I feel kinda honoured. Whilst this is a glowing review, all opinions are my own and honest. If you like the sound of this book and want to know more, head to HERE to find out more or HERE to purchase for $20

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