Kate Gross was a woman who ‘leaned in’ until cancer stopped her in her tracks. Now terminal, this brave, frank and heartbreaking book shows what it means to die before your time, and how to fill your life with wonder, hope and joy even in the face of tragedy.
Ambitious and talented, Kate Gross worked at Number 10 Downing Street for two British Prime Ministers whilst only in her twenties. At thirty, she was CEO of a charity working with fragile democracies in Africa. She had married ‘the best looking man I’ve ever kissed’ – and given birth to twin boys in 2008. The future was bright.
But aged 34, Kate was diagnosed with advanced colon cancer. Now terminal, it is clear that she will die before her children finish primary school and probably before they reach the grand old age of 6.
She began to write as a gift to herself, a reminder that she could create even as her body tried to self-destruct. Written for those she loves,her book is not a conventional cancer memoir; nor is it filled with medical jargon or misery. Instead, it is Kate’s powerful attempt to make sense of the woman who has emerged in this strange, lucid final chunk of life.
Kate should have been granted decades to say all that she says in these pages. Denied the chance to bore her children and grandchildren with stories when she is fat and old, she offers us all her thoughts on how to live; on the wonder to be found in the everyday; the importance of friendship and love; what it means to die before your time and how to fill your life with hope and joy even in the face of tragedy.
"LATE FRAGMENTS is not merely about living and dying at far too young an age. It is about the joy of family and friends, of falling in love. It is the story of a truly remarkable person in her own remarkable voice, seen and expresses with a depth of which few are capable." - The Independent
"Gross... wrote with steadfast, exquisite skill and although this remarkable book is hard to get through without a box of hankies, it is also one of the most galvanising you are likely to read all year... her gift to the casual reader is to inspire them to live life with as much joy, hunger and gusto as she did". - The Metro
"Clearly Gross achieved more in her short life than most achieve in a lifetime and she has been an inspiration to any through her work and later through her online blog; her legacy will certainly live on through AGI and her sons". - Scotsman
"LATE FRAGMENTS is not a cancer story. (Jean Gross) 'Kate didn’t want it to be a chronicle of medical misery. It is a book to read if you want to know how to face what life throws at you whatever it may be. People who read it will learn a remarkable amount about friendship and love. All of us are going to have to cope with difficult things and I think Kate’s book gives a guide to dealing with the impossible'" - Evening Standard
"'Inspirational' is an overused word, but that’s what Kate Gross is". - Radio Times
"LATE FRAGMENTS is a brief medley of autobiography, medical details... and reflections on motherhood, friendship, love and the business of dying... Out of the metaphorical flames, Gross produced a fine epitaph for a life well lived, and one that ended far too soon" - The Times
"LATE FRAGMENTS is a gem – a wonderful, uplifting reflection on how to die and how to live. It is sad because of the context in which it is written; but there is nothing tragic about its message, which is a happy one, full of life’s possibilities, not its limitations" - Sunday Times News Review, Tony Blair
"Gross was that rare mix, of intellect and empathy. Faced with her own imminent death, she used her newly discovered gift as a writer to compile this neat, 10-chapter handbook on living and dying". - Sunday Times
"Late Fragments is neither a cancer chronicle nor a misery memoir. It is a book that shows you how to live life to the brim and how to die when you have everything to live for" - Mail on Sunday
"For anyone to die in the prime of life is tragic, but she leaves some remarkable monuments to her brief life: her family, her work in Africa and this brave, lucid, witty memoir, which succeeds in expressing the essence of Kate to people who will only ever know her through its pages." - Daily Mail
"LATE FRAGMENTS is a warm and oddly uplifting read. She is funny in the darkest moments of truth. Neither falsely upbeat nor purposefully dramatic or tear-jerking, the book brings Gross to life, and she feel to the reader like a friend, or at least someone you would like to have known." - Independent