The World Was Whole (Fiona Wright, Giramondo)
In this exquisite follow-on from her award-winning memoir-in-essays Small Acts of Disappearance, Fiona Wright continues to set the standard for the essay form in Australia. Wright’s perspective in The World Was Whole is deeply connected to her Newtown neighbourhood and sharehouse network of creative friends. Also central to her experience is her longstanding struggle with food issues. Wright’s intense affinity for safe, knowable community touchstones—her favourite local café, for example—is tied up with the enduring friction she experiences navigating a world that is largely structured around food rituals and consumption. As she writes in one essay: ‘Illness is a state we do not think of as everyday, but it affects those of us it impresses itself upon every single day.’ These essays also circle around ideas of home and belonging: from not fitting into the western Sydney suburb where she grew up (and exploring her relationship to these places in the context of the Cronulla riots) to the insecurity of being a lifetime renter in an insane property market (in a brilliant essay that went viral when it was first published in the Sydney Review of Books). This collection, containing both new essays and some previously published works that have been edited for republication, will especially resonate with readers who enjoy the work of Leslie Jamison, Meghan Daum and Maria Tumarkin.
Jo Case is an Adelaide writer and bookseller