I read your book yesterday. Thank you for writing it. I wanted to say how moved I was by it. You are a good role model for men. I was touched by your openness and how thoughtfully you described your time with Amanda in life, and after she had died. It is a very exposing and vulnerable making book and I hope you feel good about it being out there. I think it is a good learning tool for people to read who are struggling with knowing how they feel, and for being in relationship and for staying present, as you say, being conscious in life, relationship and death. I particularly liked what you learnt about not letting Amanda's anger get to you. I ask myself the question, would I have done the same as you ?....very thought provoking - i.e. staying with someone with the knowledge they would have a short life.
I feel privileged to have witnessed a very deep part of you. You described your experience beautifully, and I very much liked the poem-form you used towards the end of Amanda's life. Very appropriate and atmospheric.
by R Cowan
A note from the author:
Hope you enjoyed the book. Please tell us how you feel about it and any thoughts. A good review can help others to decide whether to buy it or not.
by River King
Review of ‘Wrestling with the Angel’ by River King......by Lizzie Hubbard 27July 2016
‘My curiosity was piqued by the title . “Why wrestle?” I thought. The answer came straight away on the opening pages, and I was into the book. I am not a great reader but I didn’t put this down until I had read it all. I couldn’t. I was captivated by the situation, the raw honesty and the inner question ‘how did they cope or deal with that?’ It was easy reading. Immediate and simple. At the end of the book I felt I had expanded into a huge black vastness of unknowing and stayed present and safe throughout.
Every thought, feeling and situation was addressed consciously, acknowledged and accepted. In consequence nothing impeded the flow. I was carried along the river with them both, embracing it all, until at the end, a vastness, a stillness, containing everything.
For anyone who wonders what it is like to face death consciously this extraordinary honest and real book may provide some answers.
For anyone else it is a journey of compassion, love, commitment and honesty...I shall share it.....
by Lizzie Hubard
There are many books which track the process of living with a terminal illness and dying - both from the position of the individual who is ill and from that of the carer. What makes this book special and especially impacting is the open and vulnerable way in which River King has written it. It is an exceptionally personal account which thereby enables a depth of contact with Amanda's process, with River's journey within himself in the face of Amanda's illness and ultimately with the reader. As a consequence it is a challenging and deeply human account for which I thank the author.
This is a story of our time, where facing hard truths and being honest, creative and resourceful are called for and bring forth previously unknown strengths. This book is about living as much as it is about dying. If I say it is a joy to read that might sound strange - and yet there is something uplifting about being alongside River and Amanda in their journey - a sense of living life to the full and to the end, a beautiful poignant and sad end, enriched by presence and love.
River's writing style encourages us to be alongside, staying in the present, living the lessons; and all the while he shines through as a loving man and a real authentic human being.
I found this book intensely moving and it opened my pragmatic mind to the possibilities of our inner lives and the human spirit.
River King's honesty in admitting selfish feelings and a need to escape from his all-enveloping role as lover and carer will, I think, reassure others that this is a normal human reaction and does not mean your love is insincere.The book is fluently written, with heartrending final passages that also contain a message of hope about the spirit that transcends bodily death.
by Chris Klee
I too found this book difficult to put down. I know River so that may have added to my very full engagement with the story. It is a most honest and well written account of living with someone you love who is dying, about taking the risk as you start a new chapter in your life (having just left his marriage of 20 years, about taking time to reflect on your own, with your partner and with groups of friends or workshop participants (though I wonder how many of us are prepared to give so much time (and money) to this). Honesty is the key word here, including admitting and working with all the difficult and less "acceptable" feelings. Both Amanda and River feel like intensely real people, making even dying both a human and a spiritual journey. I liked the style: open but not overly self-conscious or full of "reflection-speak". And as Amanda's death nears, the shorter paragraphs and greater use of short poems make the pain and then release and peace speak more loudly. And then it is back to the real experience of someone living after the death of a loved one and eventually having to start to leave a life again. I would recommend this book to anyone worried about death or dying and the suggested supporting organisations and books at the end round off a wonderfully helpful, useful and powerful book.
by Chris Born
This is a beautiful story, beautifully written. The honest way it conveys such a difficult journey is truly touching - by reading the book I feel I have come to know two extraordinary people on a very deep level.
More than that, I believe the book provides an incredible resource to anyone living with a terminal illness or for those who love them. No, I need to correct that - it is a great useful for all of us aspiring to live our lives fully and with attention to spirit. Thank you, River King for sharing so much of yourself in this work.
by Donna Ladkin