Alice Rosenbaum

This extract from the novel "The Iceberg" by Marion Coutts is presented as part of the UK-Russia Year of language and Literature 2016's New writing from the UK: a competition for Russian translators of English.

The translation is made by Maria Sedova (Moscow).

Marion Coutts "The Iceberg" (2014)

Genre: Non Fiction – Memoir
Publisher: Atlantic Books
Awards: Winner of the Wellcome Book Prize, 2015; Shortlisted for Samuel Johnson, Costa Biography, Pol Roger Duff Cooper, 2014

Marion Coutts is a visual artist whose works have been exhibited widely both nationally and internationally. She is also a Lecturer in Fine Art at Goldsmiths College. Marion wrote the introduction to Tom Lubbock's memoir Until Further NoticeI Am Alive, published by Granta in 2012, and she is also the editor of his essay anthology English Graphic. The Iceberg was her first full-length non-fiction book and won the Wellcome Book Prize in 2016, as well as being shortlisted for the Costa Book Awards and the Samuel Johnson Prize.

In 2008 the art critic Tom Lubbock was diagnosed with a brain tumour. The tumour was located in the area controlling speech and language, and would eventually rob him of the ability to speak. He died early in 2011. Marion Coutts was his wife. In short bursts of beautiful, textured prose, Coutts describes the eighteen months leading up to her partner's death. This book is an account of a family unit, man, woman, young child, under assault, and how the three of them fought to keep it intact. Written with extraordinary narrative force and power, The Iceberg is almost shocking in its rawness. It charts the deterioration of Tom's speech even as it records the developing language of his child. Fury, selfishness, grief, indignity and impotence are all examined and brought to light. Yet out of this comes a rare story about belonging, an 'adventure of being and dying'. This book is a celebration of each other, friends, family, art, work, love and language.