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If You Sit Very Still

If You Sit Very Still

If You Sit Very Still

A sister's fierce engagement with traumatic loss

Marian Partington

"An extraordinary story of inner movement and growth. There is nothing easily consoling here, rather a sense of stillness, acceptance and hope - both given and worked for."

Rowan Williams, Book of the Year 2012, Times Literary Supplement

Paperback, 208pp, June 2015




Now with a NEW foreword by the author

If You Sit Very Still explores the territory of traumatic loss, brutality and the restoration of the human spirit.

In 1994, twenty-one years after her unexplained disappearance, Lucy Partington’s remains were discovered in the basement of 25 Cromwell Street, Gloucester. In this powerful and poetic book, Marian Partington, Lucy’s elder sister, reclaims Lucy from the status of “West victim” and charts her own inspiring narrative of healing.

Through deep and fierce engagement with her experience, and guided by powerful dreams, Marian finds an authentic and compassionate response. She draws on, but is not limited to, Buddhist and Quaker practices. 

Her inner work involves a laying bare of what needs to be faced, accepted and transformed, in order to live with less harm in the wake of human atrocity. This ongoing, everyday process of self-exploration and mindful interaction with others leads towards profound inner and outer change, and culminates in ten years of restorative justice work in prisons.


Read the Prologue and Chapter 1 FREE

"There is not a sentence in this book that has not been felt, fought for and hard won."
Craig Brown, Book of the Week, Mail on Sunday

"If You Sit Very Still should feature on everybody's bookshelf alongside such life guides as Shakespeare and the Bible."
Jeffery Taylor, Sunday Express

"An outstanding and beautifully crafted redemptive memoir."
Marina Cantacuzino, Huffington Post

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written by Bob MacDonald on 11/09/2013

I was introduced yesterday at UVic to Marion Partington through the CSRS fellow, Michael Hadley. By the time you read this I will have finished her book, If You Sit Very Still. I am not going to review this book - just to say - get a hold of it and read it. It is a journey of completeness.


written by Mel Newman on 23/09/2013

It seems ridiculous to say that I bought this book partly because I was drawn by the beauty of the cover. I don't mean just that it appealed to me, it was more that it seemed to say 'come in, there is something for you here'. I didn't read it immediately because, if I'm honest, I felt frightened to. I knew it would mean facing the sort of dread that I usually keep carefully wrapped away: not just the dread of losing someone you love in such a life-wrenching way but also the dread of admitting that, as human beings, we are capable of such acts as abduction, torture and murder. But the book still sat there on the table with its cover calling to me until I picked it up one day and began to read. What surprised me most was that I found the story as soothing as it was disturbing. Marian's writing is so honest and utterly human that it took me on a journey of my own while reading about hers and as much as she knows of the story of her sister, Lucy Partington. I find it difficult to put into words the way I feel about the book and how much I learnt from it but when I look at the cover now, I feel a deep sense of tenderness and a curious sort of hope, even in the light of such unfathomable truth.


written by susan barnikel on 05/03/2014

I thought this book was astonishingly beautiful - the book itself is beautiful - the cover, the paper, the bookmark - but astonishingly the story is beautiful too. Out of horror comes hope and transformation. I found it deeply moving.

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Listen to Marian Partington on Radio 4's Midweek :


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