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Michelle’s Pick of the Week: The Dead are Gods

“My best friend, Larissa, died three years ago.” Eirinie Carson writes, “ … But this is not a eulogy.”

The Dead Are Gods is a tale of grief after the death of a close friend. Larissa and Eirinie met as teenagers at a hard rock concert. Over the following decades, their lives twist, move, and change. They push each other away and, like a magnet, are drawn back together.

Larissa is remembered fondly, but not sugar coated. Eirinie grew up in the UK with a white single mother and an estranged black father. She writes about discovering her black identity as she grew into adulthood. Larissa and Eirinie were both models in the UK. Each had different experiences booking jobs. Eirinie also had different experiences in the UK and in the US as a black person. Larissa continued to model in Paris while Eirinie got a job in publishing, moved to the US, and started a family.

The narrative is written in second person, to Larissa, with urgency. First, Eirinie’s life with Larissa flashes before her eyes. Then, she grieves, occasionally with the help of her therapist. Text messages and emails bookend each chapter. Creative chapter titles like “things long since passed,” “Paris,” “a year later,” “tv presenter,” “singer-songwriter,” and the self-titled chapter “the dead are gods,” serve as breadcrumbs for the reader.

We finally learn the truth of Larissa’s sex, drugs, and rock ’n’ roll in the last third of this memoir. It’s only after the tragic events have been processed that Eirinie can see into the past with clear eyes and understand. In the last third of the memoir, Eirinie discusses partying, addiction, and drug use. Larissa became a friend Eirinie let slip away. While grieving, Eirinie discovers all the ways she did not see her friend’s addiction.

Throughout the narrative, Eirinie wonders what she is doing, writing this memoir, and who exactly benefits from reading it. For me, it packed a punch.

Categories: Books and More

Tags: Books and More

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