My book review of 'Tell Me Good Things' by James Runcie

by James Runcie
Tell Me Good Things
by James Runcie

The theatre director and radio producer Marilyn Imrie died of Motor Neurone Disease in the early months of the pandemic.

Few were aware of her illness so it came as a terrible shock to all those who knew her and her husband James Runcie, the novelist and creator of the Grantchester Mysteries. 

This is an extraordinary book. The early pages are very challenging. James outlines how he and Marilyn's two adult daughters coped with her diagnosis, the onset of the illness, her imminent death and their grief in their loss.

The book continues with memories of Marilyn and the time James spent with her - 35 years of marriage. It's profoundly moving being incredibly raw, intimate and highly personal. As a reader I felt, even though invited to learn of their story, that I was intruding. The intense bond that James describes presents the relationship as exclusive, private, protected. His grief is evident and profound.

I couldn't stop reading this book. It didn't seem right to put it down and in many ways I didn't want to because it's so beautifully written. But I felt slightly uncomfortable. It felt too raw, too personal. It's an astonishing book. Powerful and very moving.

Date of this review: September 2022
Book publication date: 24th November 2022