Found, Wanting (Natasha Sholl, Ultimo Press)
Beginning with a sudden death, Natasha Sholl’s memoir sets us up to expect a traditional grief narrative, ending with the author having processed the loss, found new meaning in their life and begun moving on. Found, Wanting is so much more, though—following the author through a large portion of her life, we see how grief can stick, how it can affect a person long after the initial loss and how it becomes embedded within a life. Written retrospectively, Sholl’s story artfully explores the effects of memory on grief, and vice versa, as well as the ways new relationships are formed around and through the loss. (Readers should be aware that there is also some sensitive and potentially triggering content around disordered eating, particularly as a trauma response, as well as difficulties with birth.) With rich yet unpretentious prose, Found, Wanting is a compelling read and a brilliant study of how the death of a loved one is both completely unique and devastating each time, yet one of the most commonplace facets of life. The writing rarely falls into the cliches of language around grief—more than that, it seems to be aware of them and the complexity of having cliches for something that feels, each time, as if it is a completely singular experience. Sholl’s debut is an excellent recommendation for fans of Michelle Zauner’s Crying in H Mart and Ellena Savage’s Blueberries.
Ash Davida Jane is a poet, editor and bookseller from New Zealand.