Found, Wanting

Natasha Sholl

Found, Wanting
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Found, Wanting

Natasha Sholl

On Valentine’s Day, after a night of red wine and pasta and planning for their future, Natasha Sholl and her partner Rob went to bed. A few hours later, at the age of 27, his heart stopped.

Found, Wanting tells the story of Natasha’s attempt to rebuild her life in the wake of Rob’s sudden death, stumbling through the grief landscape and colliding with the cultural assumptions about the ‘right way' to grieve.

It is a memoir about falling in love in the aftermath of loss, and what it means to build a life in the space that death leaves.

Furious and passionate, bracingly honest and beautiful, Found, Wanting is above all, a memoir about living and making sense of the multitude of lives within us.

Review

When Natasha Sholl was 22, she woke up to the horror of her long-term boyfriend Rob dying beside her, his heart stopping with no warning. In the wake of such an incomprehensible tragedy, Sholl shut down, struck numb as she was by overwhelming loss, and buffeted by storms of grief. Found, Wanting is her memoir of what came after, a searing and honest recollection of what it’s like to lose a loved one, from the first guttural keen to, months and years later, the ongoing process of learning to live with loss.

Sholl’s grief drags her down several painful and sometimes even absurd paths. We follow her through her visceral experience of the night Rob died, her confusion at the seemingly unending proliferation of sympathy quiches in her kitchen, her attempts to ‘say yes’ to friends’ sympathetic overtures, and the deterioration of her relationship to eating and food. As years pass, and Sholl embarks on new epochs and new relationships, her grief is ever-present but transformed: ‘I have breakthroughs. As if the feeling of grief is some riddle to be solved. I am a detective, forever looking for clues.’

I’m not sure what it is about stories of grief that compels us so, but I know Sholl’s forthright nature and hard-won wisdom is at the heart of why I was riveted by Found, Wanting. Her honesty is fearless and relatable, and there is something so heartachingly vulnerable about the unspeakable thoughts and undignified moments that she relates here. Perhaps what we want from grief narratives is the reassurance that there will be some teleological force that pulls us through the white noise when we experience it, through to something approaching peace. I cannot think of a more sympathetic and compelling guide to do this than Natasha Sholl.


Jackie Tang is the editor of Readings Monthly.

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