The Naming of Bones

Jan Kaneen

Every object has a story to tell.

Set against the backdrop of the Norfolk coast, The Naming of Bones weaves a patchwork tale of redemption and recovery. Real-life memories intertwine with dreams and folklore in this deeply moving tale of loss and unresolved grief, where tiny moments carry as much weight as the ever-present, ever-changing North Sea.

As passionate as it is personal, this story unearths relics of the author’s life to reveal the transformative power of love, understanding and forgiveness.

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The Naming of Bones can also be ordered from any independent bookstore, by using the ISBN: 978-1-8380430-7-0


If you only read one book this year, let it be The Naming of Bones. Jan Kaneen’s themes make compelling reading: brutal honesty about anxiety disorder, complex family dynamics and the realisation that an incalculable loss has lain unacknowledged for years. The narrative voice develops as the author picks up a literary pen for the first time, which goes hand-in-hand with ghostly imagery taking on a more concrete form. The author’s newfound ability serves to unravel the disquiet in her mind, as she embraces the incantations that have haunted her for years: ‘I start with my toes, phalanges, metatarsals. . .’

– Nod Ghosh, author of The Crazed Wind and Filthy Sucre

‘Beautifully written and emotionally compelling, The Naming of Bones is as much the story of a writer coming into her own as it is a memoir of loss and grief. Through a series of vividly rendered dreams and memories, Kaneen explores the depths of her subconscious to find meaning and release. This memoir-in-flash is a brilliant example of the healing power of creative expression. A compassionate and courageous, ultimately transcendent work.’

– Kathy Fish, author of Wild Life: Collected Works from 2003-2018

‘This enchanted work spins an intricate web of profound emotion that clings to you with each fibrous thread. Throughout this memoir-in-flash, the vivid imagery and sensory details immerse the reader in a world of the magical abstract that’s nevertheless grounded in haunting and poignant humanity. Each section leaves you yearning for the next, as you follow Kaneen through a world of grief and discovery. Grab a lantern, follow the light of the moon, just past the witching hour, and open your heart to verdant passages and golden trails of human frailty.’ 

The Molotov Cocktail