CURRENTLY READING

WORK READS

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Expected publication - 21/09/21

In Sweden, hundreds of refugee children fall asleep for months and years at a time. In upstate New York, teenage girls develop involuntary twitches and seizures that spread like a contagion. In the US Embassy in Cuba, employees experience headaches and memory loss after hearing strange noises in the night. There are more than 200 officially listed culture-bound syndromes--specific sets of symptoms that exist in a particular culture--affecting people around the world. In The Sleeping Beauties, Dr. Suzanne O'Sullivan--a prize winning British neurologist--investigates psychosomatic disorders and mass hysteria, traveling the world to visit communities suffering from these so-called mystery illnesses. From a derelict post-Soviet mining town in Kazakhstan, to the Mosquito Coast of Nicaragua, to the heart of the Maria Mountains in Colombia, O'Sullivan records the remarkable stories of culture-bound syndromes related by an array of people from all walks of life. She presents these curious and often distressing case studies of seeming mass hysteria with compassion and humanity, persuasively arguing that psychological suffering demands much greater respect and discussion than it's given at present.

PLEASURE READING - 

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‘the tale is made seamless by a tight structure and a hypnotic style that seems to owe something to the work of Gerald Murnane.’ Kerryn Goldsworthy Sydney Morning Herald on Blood and Bone

In a snowbound village in the heart of the Alps, a husband and wife find their lives breaking apart in the days and months following the death of their firstborn. On the far side of the world, in their hometown of Sydney, a man on the margins of Australian society commits an act of shocking violence that galvanises international attention. As the husband recognises signs of his own grief in both the survivors and the perpetrator, his fixation on the details of the case feeds into insomnia, trauma, and an obsession with the terms on which we give value to human lives.

A compulsive, compelling and lyrical novel, told with extraordinary empathy and emotional intelligence, this sweeping saga examines the nature of loss, the resilience and fragility of the family unit and the stories we tell to explain the world. 

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Knowing that he will soon die, Albert ‘Poppy’ Gondiwindi takes pen to paper. His life has been spent on the banks of the Murrumby River at Prosperous House, on Massacre Plains. Albert is determined to pass on the language of his people and everything that was ever remembered. He finds the words on the wind.

August Gondiwindi has been living on the other side of the world for ten years when she learns of her grandfather’s death. She returns home for his burial, wracked with grief and burdened with all she tried to leave behind. Her homecoming is bittersweet as she confronts the love of her kin and news that Prosperous is to be repossessed by a mining company. Determined to make amends she endeavours to save their land – a quest that leads her to the voice of her grandfather and into the past, the stories of her people, the secrets of the river.

Profoundly moving and exquisitely written, Tara June Winch’s The Yield is the story of a people and a culture dispossessed. But it is as much a celebration of what was and what endures, and a powerful reclaiming of Indigenous language, storytelling and identity.

BUDDY READ WITH NAT -