Friday, May 11, 2012

Dissolute Kinship by David Antrobus

Well Readers, in contrast to the length of Coming Home (my last review here), the length of Dissolute Kinship is practically non-existent. It is a very, very short book. Even short for a novella. But that doesn't mean it isn't worthwhile. Read on and you'll learn more.

Book Blurb:
When David Antrobus set out on a personal, reflective solo road trip from the Pacific Coast of Canada to New York City, he picked a random date: Tuesday, September 11, 2001. This coincidence, despite the horrors of that day, proved oddly
serendipitous in the sense of the author's struggle for understanding of his own relatively small trauma, which he was then only beginning to face. 

Evocations of the quiet melancholy of the landscape alongside poignant descriptions of grain elevators, motels, convenience stores and gas stations as he heads eastward across the Canadian Prairies are complemented by the dawning reality of New York City's wounded presence looming ever nearer. Upon arrival, the author is at first haunted by the visceral horrors that remain just days after the attacks on the World Trade Centre, yet finds unexpected comfort in the people of the city as they relate their own personal trauma stories.

My Review:
David never goes into what his personal trauma entails in this book. It is really focused on the devastation he finds when he gets to New York City following the events of September 11, 2001 and the affecting and poignant way he has of describing what he sees. For some people, like me, who still find the devastation of that day very difficult to deal with, this sometimes evoked more emotion than I expected. 

If you want to read a well written first-hand perspective of the visual aftermath of 9/11 this is an excellent book. A literary triumph. It's short length is not a detriment. My only criticism is the off-hand introduction of some very relevant emails that David sent to friends at the time. I feel they could have been incorporated a little more seamlessly.
About the author:
After working for almost two decades with abused, neglected, homeless and various street-involved children and teens, in both England and Canada, David Antrobus took stock at the end of the Millennium, realised any more of that harrowing work would eventually douse some dimming ember within, and attempted a personal reinvention as an editor and, more importantly, a writer. Which was a return, of sorts, having written fiction in his teens and then only sporadically as an adult. The lessons learned in his previous work and from a lifetime of reading other authors (his favourite books tend toward the dark and the lyrical) inform the fiction he is only now beginning to explore after wrestling with a very personal nonfiction account over the last decade.
Want to get in touch with David? You can find him here:

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