cover image Axiomatic


Maria Tumarkin. Transit, $16.95 trade paper (224p) ISBN 978-1-945492-29-7

Examining the theme of trauma and grief over the course of five extended essays, cultural historian Tumarkin (Otherland) presents a remarkable tour de force. Each essay derives its title from a different axiom—to pick two: “You Can’t Enter the Same River Twice” and “Time Heals All Wounds,”—and explores an easily sensationalized subject, such as, in the latter, teen suicide. That the essays come across as original is a testament to their artful construction, as they organically navigates the networks of a community and evoke a larger system through its smaller components. “Time Heals All Wounds” delves into the repercussions of teen suicide for families, schools, and communities, and moves through different stories as if they were all part of the same larger case. In addition to trauma, the essays also touch on the effects of time, as in “History Repeats Itself,” about a lawyer whose commitment to “being embedded in the community, walking the streets, using the same public transport as my clients” causes Tumarkin to reflect on how time “lets trust stick, and relationships take anchor.” Perhaps most impressive is how Tumarkin openly courts, yet escapes, cliché. These essays will linger in readers’ minds for years after. (Sept.)