Marvellous Ways’ Marvellous Words

I finished reading ‘A year of Marvellous Ways’ by Sarah Winman. I thought it was so beautifully written, each sentence flowed like a 310 page long poem. Every sentence in the book was littered with marvelously crafted devices so I decided to pick out some of my favorite quotes that resonated with myself.

It was as if a blade had shucked his heart like an oyster and stolen the beauty within.

This was when Marvellous spoke of her father losing her mother. There is a sea life theme throughout which is highlighted here as being in the fathers heart. His wife was a part of him, depicted as his pearl, and without her he was just a shell of what he used to be.

Coming back from the dead is not quite the same as coming back to life

This is an interesting way to view grief.

Love just enough… enough to hold. When it hurts, you’re loving too much. Just enough to hold. Anything more than a handful and you’re in trouble.

I think this relates to not giving too much of yourself away and be free to love but do not give them your all as you need to save some for yourself

Melancholia. That’s the term the Victorians used. 

Describing depression, in the past there was obviously a lot less knowledge on depression – they even treated some people with electric shock therapy!

People prefer memories to ghosts, I think.

This may relate to grief. You remember the happy times and memories but can also let that person go and move on.

Everything was coated with the dust of better days, herself included.

This was my favorite character Missy who often drifted off thinking of the past. This is a nice description of how she held onto her past and it made her develop ‘Melancholia’.

Oh look! Let’s hope this one’s blue. I still love the blue ones! The rocket exploded and flared. Cascades of red and green.                                                                                                      I wanted it be blue.

This represented Missy’s disappointment within every area of her life. The things she wanted, even small things such as the firework colours, never happened for her.

She filled the window with her nakedness and it was an unconscious act, one that spoke softly, This is who I am, not This is what you’re missing.

I think this was a powerful quote that could represent being proud of your body. For women in the 50s (which was when the story was set) to be proud to show their bodys with a sense of pride without being objectified. The fact she is in the window could be represented as her displaying what she has to offer but she simply does not care about what others may be thinking and is embracing herself instead.

And that old dog of a river saw them come and he closed his watery eyes and tried to turn back time but tide said no. And Old Thames, he must’ve known something but he didn’t say something.

This is a very sad quote that foreshadows later events in the story. (Spoiler!) Missy soon drowns herself in the Thames, or so you think, and this quote personifies the river to illustrate it’s sadness and knowledge of what is to come.

She paused momentarily to see if Death was still around, because she wanted to talk to Death… She said, we’ve met many times before, and you passed me by – wouldn’t even look at me, maybe I wasn’t your type. But don’t pass me by now. Take me. Let’s barter a life for a life. Don’t take that child I know you want to take, or that fisherman about to be trapped… Or the bride with the burning fever. I know you want to take one of them because they’ll be missed, and they’ll be mourned, and the sound of grief is the sound of your song. …Take me instead. It’s a good offer.                                                    But Death said, My my, what a load of fiddle-fiddle, and he laughed and left through the front door and when he was gone, warmth and sunlight shone in.

This is a beautiful section that represents death as a person. Marvellous practically begs and tries to bargain with him because she wants to die. But the part I think is nice is that Death laughs at her and walks out, laughing at her may be seen as cruel but he has just saved her life and she gets to live. Once he leaves, which could represent her getting through any mental illnesses or sadness, she finally sees the good things such as sunlight and bathes in the warmth of it.

The book is overall positive (honest!) but these are the quotes that struck me the most, probably as these are the main ones that I could relate to. The book is filled with so many happy and inspiring quotes too. Let me know some of your favourites!


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