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A Tortoise File

The missing note

In little more than a year, the year of the pandemic, Anand Menon lost his mother, father, brother and sister…

First published
Monday 14 June 2021

Last updated
Monday 14 June 2021

Why this story?

Some time last year, I called Anand Menon to ask him to write for us at Tortoise. He’s a professor of politics and foreign affairs, so I was trying to cajole him into writing about British politics since the EU referendum. He said he’d be happy to and, just as I was about to thank him and finish up the call, he said: “I’ve been wondering whether I should write about one other thing. I lost my whole family in the course of the last year.”

The Missing Note – the account Anand wrote of losing his father, his brother, his sister and his mother in the course of a year – was first published in print in the Tortoise Quarterly. We put it up online, too. And we have never had a response quite like it. Wave after wave of moved readers. It was a powerful piece that revealed so much about Anand’s courage in writing it; and perhaps as much about the state we are in, about how much fear, frailty and loss we are living with.

So this week the Slow Newscast is a return to The Missing Note – a conversation between Anand and me about family and about loss. James Harding, Editor & co-founder

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