The State of Disbelief

A story of death, love and forgetting

by Juliet Rosenfeld

  • Published: 06 Feb 2020
  • Price: 12.99
  • Format: Hardback
  • Extent: 192p
  • ISBN: 9781780723792
  • Short Books territories:
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”A beautifully written, profoundly moving and immersive account of grief that will bring solace to readers who have been bereaved, and guide anyone who knows them, who feels at a loss how to understand what they’re going through. Which pretty much means all of us, at some point in our lives.” – Louise France, The Times


A revelatory book about death and mourning by a psychotherapist faced with sudden bereavement.

When Juliet Rosenfeld’s husband dies of lung cancer only seven months into their marriage, everything she has learnt about death as a psychotherapist is turned on its head.

As she attempts to navigate her way through her own devastating experience of loss, Rosenfeld turns to her battered copy of Freud’s seminal essay ‘Mourning and Melancholia’. Inspired by the distinction Freud draws between the savage trauma of loss that occurs at the moment of death – grief – and the longer, unpredictable evolution of that loss into something that we call mourning, Rosenfeld finds herself dramatically rethinking the commonly held therapeutic idea of ‘working through stages of grief’.

This is a beautifully written meditation on what the investment of love means and how to find your own path after bereavement in order for life to continue.


“For anyone who has faced loss, this book is essential reading.”
Baroness Julia Neuberger
“A breath-taking piece of work: tragic, terrifying and gripping as any novel, but ultimately, thanks to Rosenfeld's clear-eyed psychoanalytical honesty, also deeply consoling. I don't think writers - or human beings - can share their experience more movingly and generously than this.”
Julie Myerson
“A brave and beautifully-written account of an experience usually shrouded in silence. This is such an intelligent and honest book.”
Amelia Gentleman

About Juliet Rosenfeld

Juliet Rosenfeld read French and Italian at Oxford before working in advertising and briefly in the civil service. She began to retrain as a psychoanalytic psychotherapist 15 years ago. She works in London in private practice and has two sons. This is her first book.