Split: True Stories of Leaving, Loss, and New Beginnings (ed by Lee Kofman, Ventura)
Author and editor Lee Kofman sent a callout for personal essays about breaking up. The essays could be about any kind of separation: with people, objects, whatever. Split: True Stories of Leaving, Loss and New Beginnings is the result. A roster of well-known authors—Alice Pung, Graeme Simsion, A S Patric, Ramona Koval, to name a few—tackle all kinds of painful separations: marriage break-ups, difficult parents, coping with Alzheimer’s disease, coming out, struggles with autism, scars left by childhood, sudden job losses and estrangement from one’s country of birth. Each story in this collection is intensely personal and compelling, almost confessional. The emotional range, honesty and deep introspection make Split read like a map of the human heart. While the subject matter is separation and loss, an equally strong theme is one of transition. Suffering leads to personal transformation. A thoroughly bracing and enjoyable collection, pooling the wisdom of an impressive range of Australian writers, Split will appeal to fans of Leigh Sales’ searching book about loss and grief, Any Ordinary Day. Honest and entertaining, with a cathartic effect, it would do well to fall into the hands of any troubled soul.
Chris Saliba is the co-owner of North Melbourne Books and a freelance reviewer