Books for Grief: The Archaeology of Loss – by Sarah Tarlow


In “The Archaeology of Loss,” Sarah Tarlow presents a unique perspective on grief and mourning, focusing on the relationships between the living and the dead. As an archaeologist, she delves into mortuary and commemorative practices, exploring how ancient societies dealt with loss and bereavement.

The book is also a personal memoir of care, centred around Tarlow’s partner, Mark, who battled a degenerative disease. When his pain and suffering became unbearable, he made a decision to end his life. Tarlow grapples with her emotions of not regretting his passing, as she witnessed his deteriorating condition and unbearable pain.

Throughout the book, Tarlow critically examines the concept of unpaid care and the challenges that come with being a caregiver. She candidly discusses her feelings of resentment and despair, while also acknowledging the guilt that accompanies such emotions.

This poignant account challenges societal norms surrounding caregiving and mourners’ emotions, providing a fresh perspective on the complex realities of loss. The book is thought-provoking and explores the often-taboo aspects of caring for the dying, delving into ambivalence, rage, and mixed feelings that can accompany the process of grief.

Overall, “The Archaeology of Loss” offers readers a profound exploration of intelligence and complexity in challenging times, making it a thought-provoking and emotionally compelling read.

This book overview is adapted from The Guardian’s review of The Archaeology of Loss – by Sarah Tarlow.

Books for Grief - View All

Books for Grief – Partner and Spouse Loss

The books featured in this video have all been recommended by users of our support services.
All At Sea
The Elements: A Widowhood
The Year of Magical Thinking
A Grief Observed
The Madness of Grief
Do you know of a book for grief which is missing from our list? Please tell us about it, as it may help someone else feel supported after loss. Email us with your recommendations on

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