The Life of Stuff : A memoir about the mess we leave behind
'Absolutely fascinating. She writes with admirable honesty... It is a book I know I shall read again' Ruth Hogan, author of The Keeper of Lost Things
'This extraordinary, beautiful memoir gripped me from the first page... it moved me profoundly' Clover Stroud, author of The Wild Other
Only after her mother's death does Susannah Walker discover how much of a hoarder she had become. Over the following months, she has to sort through a dilapidated house filled to the brim with rubbish and treasures, in search of a woman she'd never really known or understood in life. This is her last chance to piece together her mother's story and make sense of their troubled relationship. What emerges from the mess of scattered papers, discarded photographs and an extraordinary amount of stuff is the history of a sad and fractured family, haunted by dead children, divorce and alcohol.
The Life of Stuff is a deeply personal memoir about mourning and the shoring up of possessions against the losses and griefs of life, which also raises universal questions about what makes us the people we are. What do our possessions say about us? Why do we project such meaning onto them? And what painful circumstances turn someone who loves their home and the stuff it contains into an incurable hoarder who ends their days in squalor?