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Traumascapes: The Power and Fate of Places…

Traumascapes: The Power and Fate of Places Transformed by Tragedy

by Maria Tumarkin

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It’s synchronicity: this week Karen at BookerTalk posted about her ‘bad habit’ of buying non-fiction books that she never gets round to reading and here I am reviewing a book that very nearly fell into that category…

Karen identifies some possible reasons for behaving in this somewhat irrational way. It can be because of a desire to know more about some issue than is accessible in the media, or it can be a ‘vain attempt’ to keep up with some issue of importance. Some of my neglected NF books fall into this category: I have half a dozen books about terrorism that represent my vague unease with how the media distorts this issue, and yes, those ones survived the Tidy-the-Bookshelves cull. But they have not yet jumped out of the shelves demanding to be read. No, it’s those pushy author bios that do that – and probably always will…

But others on Karen’s NF TBR, like mine – including some very recent purchases – are unlikely ever to be read and there appears to be no rational reason for buying them, other than that I thought I ought to. They’re not there to impress anybody: these books are tucked away on the shelves in my library, a private space in my house and a room very rarely visited by my friends.

But perhaps one other reason might be the influence of the zeitgeist – which is why I think I’ve had Maria Tumarkin’s Traumascapes on my TBR for ages and ages. This book was everywhere in the year of its publication in 2005: there were author interviews in the media, reviews all over the place, author events at bookstores, and if memory serves me correctly, festival appearances too.

Quite unexpectedly, now that I’ve finally read it, I found myself having reservations about this much-lauded book. (And, to be honest, I have some qualms about saying so). Charlotte Wood was troubled by the lack of structure in the book in her review for The Age but I was more bothered by the tone.

To read the rest of my review please visit https://anzlitlovers.com/2016/03/17/traumascapes-by-maria-tumarkin/ ( )
  anzlitlovers | Aug 15, 2016 |
This *should* have been an interesting book. Indeed, there were some interesting points to think about, but it really was not what I was expecting. I never thought I would say this, but I really felt this book should have been more academic. Instead, it was very self-indulgent with the writing becoming quite melodramatic at times. Her use of the word "Traumascapes", rather than just being a catchy tag for the novel, becomes as grating as a sales person who over uses your name. She over-dramatises her "traumascapes" in ways she claims she aims to avoid; and when she's not doing that, she's quoting a lot of other people's work which feels more like she's paraphrasing than producing evidence to her own conclusions.

Perhaps I'm being too harsh. It does read like the author has put a lot of herself into this book and this journey. Perhaps it works for others - it just didn't for me. ( )
1 vote stillbeing | Oct 26, 2007 |
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