Tiger's Eye: A Memoir

Overview

"'A decade ago I fell ill' writes Inga Clendinnen. '"Fall" is the right word: it is almost as alarming and quite as precipitous as falling in love.' In this deeply personal book she takes us on a journey into dangerous territory in which her body, her mind and her life itself are irrevocably changed." "Waiting for the mysterious interventions of medical science, Clendinnen becomes fascinated with her new existence in the sealed world of hospital. And, as she waits, she begins to write: about her childhood, her parents, her own history. She
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Overview

"'A decade ago I fell ill' writes Inga Clendinnen. '"Fall" is the right word: it is almost as alarming and quite as precipitous as falling in love.' In this deeply personal book she takes us on a journey into dangerous territory in which her body, her mind and her life itself are irrevocably changed." "Waiting for the mysterious interventions of medical science, Clendinnen becomes fascinated with her new existence in the sealed world of hospital. And, as she waits, she begins to write: about her childhood, her parents, her own history. She recovers half-forgotten stories and invents new ones, exploring and mapping the obscure terrain that divides history from fiction and truth from memory."--BOOK JACKET.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
"Illness casts you out, but it also cuts you free." While this insight may be common among those who have been visited by serious illness, rarely is it offered with the eloquence and honesty found in this work. A noted Australian historian and teacher, Clendinnen (Aztecs: An Interpretation; Reading the Holocaust) not only recounts the details of her life-threatening struggle with severe liver disease, but also intersperses them with personal memoir, short fiction, and Australian history in equal doses. This mixture, along with the sharp, insightful humor and lyrical descriptions Clendinnen describes the experience of recuperation as "the slow, lurching waltz of recovery, step forward, step sideways, step together, step" makes this volume much more memorable than the usual account of a brush with death and subsequent return to not-quite normalcy. Highly recommended for both medical and literary memoir collections. Kay Hogan Smith, UAB Lister Hill Lib., Birmingham Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A hypnotizing memoir exploring depths of severe illness, identity, and memory itself. Clendinnen (Reading the Holocaust, 1999) provides a discursive account of her childhood in Geelong, Australia during WWII, of her parents, and of her current experience fighting against liver disease. The author, whose degenerative illness leaves her prone to hallucinations, first takes the reader on a meandering tour of ephemeral images past and present, including recollections of early-life impressions of animals, folk stories, and the raw sights and sounds of hospital respite. She takes into account the associations behind her train of thought. In one case, while in the hospital, she remembers a girlish fascination with a tiger at the zoo. "I too was in a cage with feeding times and washing times and bars at the sides of my cot, and people coming to stare and prod," she writes. As her memories gain coherence, the reader is drawn into the story of Clendinnen's parents, her childhood, and daily life in the town of Geelong. These are relayed not so much in narrative but in mood and feeling ("When my father was shaving it was warm fragrant, sun-yellow"). The author is at her most engaging when she struggles to shape an accurate picture from memories of her parents-a pursuit that acknowledges the frustration of the parent-child relationship. "We will be able to look directly at them only when death has lifted their shadow from us," she bemoans. Clendinnen moves through her remembrances in a trancelike state, often making use of abstract metaphors (e.g., she describes herself during one period of convalescence as being "held together by shadow knitting"). The result is a powerful and vivid recollection,in the mire of self-absorption. A touching insight into how we build our sense of self.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780743206006
  • Publisher: Scribner
  • Publication date: 7/17/2001
  • Edition description: 1 SCRIBNER
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 5.78 (w) x 8.72 (h) x 1.03 (d)

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