The Heart Does Break

Canadian Writers on Grief and Mourning

Publisher: Vintage Canada
A book in which some of our best writers address their own losses — and help us endure our own…

A heartbreaking, comforting and beautiful collection of true stories about grief and mourning from some of Canada’s best known writers.

When Jean Baird’s daughter, Bronwyn, died suddenly, Jean’s deep instinct was to turn to books to help her in her time of sudden loss. Although she found that the thoughts of counselors, psychologists, Buddhists, and self-help gurus were perhaps some help, the works that truly reached to the heart of the matter were by literary writers, largely from the UK and the US. Scanning the Canadian landscape, Jean and her husband George Bowering found elegies and tributes, but little from our writers about the person who is left behind to mourn or what it takes to endure grieving. The Heart Does Break — an anthology of twenty original pieces — sets out to fill that gap.

From the Hardcover edition.


By George Bowering
Winter is come and gone,
but grief returns with the evolving year.
—P.B. Shelley, Adonais
Every year, as September gives way to October, my wife, Jean Baird, feels a bleakness...
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“Read this book — for enlightenment and entertainment, for good writing about a tough subject. If George Bowering’s and Jean Baird’s anthology were a feature film, it would receive innumerable thumbs-up and all the stars.”
— The Globe and Mail
“Readers will be struck by the level of emotional honesty. . . . Readers who have mourned the loss of someone dear will find solace and validation within the pages of this anthology.”
— Winnipeg Free Press
“It might well prove of comfort to the bereft, if only for the variety of experiences these authors have endured.”
— National Post
“A fine and powerful collection that is, in places, impossible to read without crying.”
The Gazette
“All the stories are well written and all are worth reading.”
Ottawa Citizen

From the Hardcover edition.