“This is a beautiful book, a remarkable, cadenced recollection of how grief lives in the body. It is poetry as a kind of dance. You have to read it, ” Edmund de Waal.
Marie-Elsa Bragg is an author, a priest in the diocese of London, therapist, a spiritual director and Duty of Chaplain at Westminster Abbey. She published her debut novel Towards Mellbreak in 2017 to great acclaim. In her new book Sleeping Letters she revisits the defining moment in her life, her mother’s death by suicide.
When Marie-Elsa R. Bragg was just six years old, her mother committed suicide. Now, many years later, Marie-Elsa returns to that night. Going back to that moment, inhabiting this defining tragedy, allows an exploration of the grief but also creates a space to heal – as well as the affirmation that it is her experiences as a priest that have carried her.
Sleeping Letters is a way of connecting to past family, an attempt to reconcile with loss, as well as a radical exploration of Marie-Elsa’s own faith. While harrowing and unforgettable, it is also an immensely beautiful book, with a luminous sense of a daughter’s love.
Marie-Elsa R. Bragg on Sleeping Letters: Grief Through Poetry