memoir / essay
Axiomatic, meaning self-evident or unquestionably true, derives from the Greek word axios (worthy).
Tumarkin’s book of essays delves into how the past affects the present and whether we can accommodate sometimes horrific trauma. Her writing gets right under the skin, straight to the heart of a question, and I find myself thinking of the people in her book a long time after I’ve put it down. In five sections or axioms the theme of histories is explored through the people the author meets, is compelled by. It was hard to find my footing at first; was I reading true crime reportage, a series of biographies, a philosophical meditation? All of them flow together and onward, with fragments of painful clarity that pinpoint wobbly ethics, inequality or psychological damage with an empathy that made me wince. its unlike anything I’ve read before. As the publisher, Brow Books, suggests, it seeks to reset the non-fiction form in Australia. Profoundly moving, oddly-shaped and freshly-sharpened writing.