Everything apart from being with Matty seemed irrelevant. I’d always kept diaries and notebooks, but now I wrote nothing. My words had gone AWOL. I couldn’t bear to read the pointless, silly rubbish the old me had written so I tied all my diaries up in two carrier bags and chucked them into the skip at the back of the pub.— Cathy Rentzenbrink, The Last Act of Love (2015), p. 52.
Misunderstanding abounded. Because we always talked positively and hopefully about Matty, people tended to think he was doing better than he was and were then shocked if they visited him to find that his gaze was either vacant or his eyes looked over to the right, that his skin was deteriorating and that he had spots and blackheads for the first time in his life.— Cathy Rentzenbrink, The Last Act of Love (2015), p. 49.
We were shown to a little room with a table and chairs, a kettle and an ashtray, and drank tea for what felt like hours and hours. I noticed a Guinness stain on the bottom edge of my cream shirt, knew that it would have happened as I’d leaned over the pump at work earlier, and thought how much the world had changed in the lifetime of that little stain.— Cathy Rentzenbrink, The Last Act of Love (2015), p. 21.
The years collapse, and I see myself kneeling and crying and begging, with my hands clasped together in prayer, talking to some unknown force.
Please don’t let him die, please don’t let him die, please, I’ll do anything, only please don’t let him die.
What strikes me now as it never has before is that I can’t say my prayers went unanswered. I was given what I asked for. My brother did not die. But I did not know then that I was praying for the wrong thing.— Cathy Rentzenbrink, The Last Act of Love (2015), p. 3.
Our second 2016/17 event is a special BookTalk in collaboration with the Paristamen CIO funder-initiative on death and dying, as part of the Being Human festival. We welcome acclaimed writer, Cathy Rentzenbrink, for a ‘Meet the Author’ session in conversation with Jenny Kitzinger about love and loss and her remarkable memoir, The Last Act of Love, which was both a Sunday Times bestseller and shortlisted for The Wellcome Trust Prize.
Our second event for 2016 extends our innovative approach to the BookTalk formula once again, providing BookTalkers an opportunity to meet the authors of two recent best-selling novels set in the Victorian period: Gaynor Arnold and John Harding. There will also be the opportunity to hear about the continuing public appetite for the 19th century from Professor Ann Heilmann, an internationally recognized expert on Victorian and Neo-Victorian literature based within Cardiff University.