Bittersweet memories: Ti Amo, by Hanne Ørstavik, reviewed

This is a deceptively slim novel. Its 96 pages contain multitudes: two lives, past and present, seamlessly interwoven. The narrator, a Norwegian novelist, and her Italian husband live in Milan. ‘Ti amo,’ they frequently tell each other. Easier to say ‘I love you’, than for him to say he’s dying, and her to say she doesn’t know what she’ll do without him. When did it all start, she wonders. ‘When did you actually become ill?’ We’re encouraged these days to view everything as a journey, including marriage, and theirs has been a marriage of many journeys, emotional and geographical: literary festivals, seminars, conferences, interspersed with private time – dinners in

What does the trans debate mean for widowers like me?

I once asked a hospice nurse to describe her job and was surprised when she likened it to midwifery. ‘There are two days,’ she said, ‘which aren’t the full 24 hours. The day you are born, and the day you die.’ Uncertainty, fear and waiting. Having been at my late-wife’s deathbed – and at her side as she gave birth to our children – I can see the analogy. But why, when it comes to the language of inclusivity, is death excluded? Or, as the Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust, asserted recently ‘there is currently biological essentialism and transphobia present within elements of mainstream birth narratives and discourse’.  Why stop