Page 101. " Chronic lymphocytic leukaemia "

  Chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) is a cancer of the lymphocytes (a type of white blood cell in the vertebrate immune system).

CLL is the most common form of leukaemia, and is rare in people under the age of 40, mainly affecting those over 60 years old. CLL is more common in men than in women. CLL tends to develop slowly, and many patients will not need treatment for months or even years. The average survival rate for CLL is 10 years, but this figure may be distorted by the fact that many people diagnosed with CLL are well 0ver 60 years old. 

Cancer Research UK suggests that: "On average 44 out of 100 men (44%) and 52 out of 100 women (52%) will live for at least 5 years after being diagnosed."

Elgin tells the narrator that Louise has had leukaemia for 'About two years'.

He also tells the narrator 'It's rare', suggesting that Louise is under 40 years old.

Page 104. " The prognosis was about 100 months. "

100 months translates to just over 8 years.

Page 106. " took a train to Yorkshire "
The Pennine Way, West Yorkshire
Public DomainThe Pennine Way, West Yorkshire - Credit: G-Man.

 Yorkshire is a county in northern England. It is the largest county in the UK, and consists of the wide open green spaces of dales and moors, as well as large cities (e.g. Leeds) and industrial areas. It is approximately 200 miles from London

See Setting.

Page 107. " The floor creaked like a Hammer horror set "

During the 1950s-1970s, Hammer Film Productions became well-known for their low-budget, Gothic horror films. The term 'Hammer Horror' is now used to refer to any horror film of the same era and style.



Page 109. " 'Rock of ages cleft for me. Let me hide myself in thee.' "

Rock of Ages is a Christian hymn, written by Reverend Augustus Montague Toplady in 1763, and usually sung to the music of Thomas Hastings.

Page 115. " In the secret places of her thymus gland "

Public DomainThymus - Credit: Gray's Anatomy
The thymus gland is part of the immune system.  It lies close to the heart.

Page 117. " There's a story trapped inside your mouth. "

This plays with the idea of our history being written on the body through damage and scars.

Page 119. " you must be a photograph not a poem "

It is interesting to note that although in life the narrator describes Louise's body in terms of text, in death s/he wants only an image.