Tell Me Good Things

On Love , Death and Marriage

Everyone in the world has to face the loss of someone they love. There are countless tributes, biographies and laments written by the recently bereaved. In the best of them, the writing reaches out beyond therapy and recollection to share what Dr Johnson called “moral instruction in the art of bearing calamities”. They help those facing a similar devastation.

My wife, Marilyn Imrie, died of Motor Neurone Disease on August 21st 2020, at five o’clock in the morning. She was a drama director, a singer and an artist: mother to two girls, wife, sister, aunt and grandmother. She was seventy-two years old.

We had thirty-five years together. This is our story and the book is a love letter to her. But, as well as an account of trauma, I’d like to think that it is filled with jokes and laughter and the affectionate remembrance of a woman who was a force for good in the world, a person who thought the best of people, embraced adventure and delighted in greeting her friends - Hello, Gorgeousness!  Tell me good things!

This is not only my way of reclaiming her from the last months of a terminal illness but an attempt to provide my own version of Johnson’s “moral instruction” and to offer both the consolation of sorrow and the possibility of hope in the face of despair.

Tell Me Good Things is out now.




James Runcie's account of losing his wife to MND is vivid, bleak and wonderful. Where Runcie is excellent is in laying bare his own grief, its narcissism and the 'bizarre freedom' is gives him not to care anymore. As an instructive examination of how to find hope in the thralls of depair, Tell Me Good Things is a wonderful addition to the literature of bereavement - and it is most definitely not just for its writer ― SUNDAY TIMES

A tender memoir of the challenges of bereavement ... I closed this book wishing I'd met her - but feeling that I almost had ― DAILY TELEGRAPH

A touchingly honest and tender memoir ... Runcie generously fulfils the promise of his title . because his memoir is full of good things: stories that reveal Imrie's sharp intelligence, her bold fashion sense, her glee at pricking the bubble of pretension ― THE TIMES

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