Formed as a series of anecdotes, encounters and memories, which intersperse the author's time as a war reporter in Angola with snapshots from a suburban childhood and feelings about her return to 'normal' life after Angola, this book is fiercely honest and compelling. Pawson explores gender, race, identity, voyeurism and inequality and the book's fragmented structure unfolds like a real sequence of thought patterns making it an intimate and moving read. Strongly recommend.
In Tell Me the Planets, Ben Platts-Mills shares stories about his remarkable work with survivors of brain injury, offering a rare glimpse into the world as seen through their eyes. We meet charismatic Danny, whose criminal past has left him paralysed down one side, but who now helps others worse off than himself, and Sid, whose memory for the present lasts only moments.
But above all this is the story of the extraordinary friendship between Ben and Matthew, who suffered neurological damage during an operation to remove a cerebral cyst. It is a journey that takes them to the frontiers of science and to the limits of human resilience: when they discover that the cyst is growing again, Matthew is left with an impossible decision to make.
Ben Platts-Mills lives in Hackney and has spent the last twelve years working for Headway East London, the charity that looks after those who have suffered trauma to the brain. In 2013 he developed the concept for the life writing project, Who Are You Now? which publishes survivors' stories using oral history methodology.
After dismantling her marriage, Levy starts again age 50, deliberately not choosing to be a minor character as a wife and mother, having built a home that is arranged for everyone except herself. Without pity Levy describes her transition to a new life outside of what is expected, despite patriarchy's need to diminish her powers. Levy writes sparingly but knocks you sideways with surreal and witty metaphors which illuminate her internal world, always with an understated wisdom and honesty. A must read.