A wise, moving debut about the pain of losing a parent and the power of literature to light our way through it.
Katharine Smyth was a student when she first read Virginia Woolf's modernist masterpiece To the Lighthouse in the comfort of an English sitting room, and in the companionable silence she shared with her father. After his death - a calamity that claimed her favourite person - she returned to that beloved novel as a way of understanding her own grief.
Smyth's story moves between the New England of her childhood and Woolf's Cornish shores and Bloomsbury squares, exploring universal questions about family, loss and homecoming. Braiding memoir, literary criticism and biography, All the Lives We Ever Lived is a wholly original debut: a love letter from a daughter to her father, and from a reader to her most cherished author.
"Smyth is an elegant writer and she explores her deep, complicated love for her father in lyrical yet restrained prose." (Literary Review)
"This is a beautiful book about the wildness of mortal life, and the tenuous consolations of art." (Times Literary Supplement)