Everyday Madness: On Grief, Anger, Loss and Love

Lisa Appignanesi

‘You will find all of life in this’ Deborah Levy

After the death of her partner of thirty-two years, Lisa Appignanesi was thrust into a state striated by rage and superstition in which sanity felt elusive. Then, too, the cultural and political moment seemed to collude with her condition: everywhere people were dislocated and angry.

In this electrifying and brave examination of an ordinary enough death and its aftermath, Everyday Madness uses all Lisa Appignanesi’s evocative and analytic powers to scrutinize her own and our society’s experience of grieving. With searing honesty, lashed by humour, she navigates us onto the terrain of childhood, the way it forms our feelings of love and hate, and steers us towards a less tumultuous version of the everyday.

Reviews of Everyday Madness: On Grief, Anger, Loss and Love

    • ‘Appignanesi luminously conveys the wayward emotions that make bereavement a language that is hard to understand, yet speaks to us every day when we experience a great loss. You will find all of life in this rewarding, scholarly and entertaining conversation about freedom, Freud, fury, enduring love, and how mythic and modern families haunt each other’ Deborah Levy
    • ‘Keen-eyed, unflinching in her honesty, Lisa Appignanesi carries us down into the depths through an inner landscape of unappeasable turmoil, as she moves towards knowledge of love and the serenity it brings. With piercing insight and many moments of intense poignancy, she illuminates the complexity and costs of a remarkable and passionate journey’ Marina Warner
    • ‘Wonderful, moving, extraordinary. It is sui generis. I feel enormously privileged to have read it – twice. Its structure is remarkable – an enacting of the last two years. Bravo bravo’ Edmund de Waal
    • ‘A ragged, stop-start quality, often feeling like a conversation, at times an argument, with the reader, and is all the more engaging for it…’ Guardian
    • ‘An investigation of a state that floats somewhere between diagnosed mental illness and daily life; she is her survey’s principal case, but she’s interested, too, in the “historical moment” whose anger and loss, she insists, can “be understood as sharing a set of emotions” with her own’ Observer
    • ‘It is anger of the everyday sort that is currently being politicised. Feminists are fighting back against the way women’s anger is typically caricatured and delegitimised, and celebrating the power of collective female anger as a way of flexing socially progressive muscle … a brave and compelling book’ New Statesman
    • ‘Everyday Madness is supple, powerful and remarkably solipsistic; Appignanesi meditates with great wisdom and fierce honesty on “the puzzle that the self perennially is” in a memoir that begins in opaqueness and ends in clarity’ TLS