September 2019 Indie Next List
“Axiomatic is as idiosyncratic and brilliant as writing gets. The topics Tumarkin addresses — suicide, intergenerational trauma, friendships, addiction — serve to ask a larger question: as we move through the world, how do we address our effect on one another? This is a book that feels like the best conversation you’ve ever had with the smartest person you’ve ever met. It’s the essence of a before-and-after book: you’re not the same person on the other side. This is the most necessary book I’ve read in some time.”
— Thomas Flynn, Volumes Bookcafe, Chicago, IL
National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist
A New Yorker Best Book of 2019
A Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2019
Winner of the Melbourne Prize for Literature's Best Writing Award
Shortlisted for the Stella Prize
"Tumarkin presents a remarkable tour de force . . . These essays will linger in readers' minds for years after."--Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
Drawing on nine years of research, Axiomatic explores the ways we understand the traumas we inherit and the systems that sustain them. In five sections--each one built on an axiom about how the past affects the present--Tumarkin weaves together true and intimate stories of a community dealing with the extended aftermath of a suicide, a grandmother's quest to kidnap her grandson to keep him safe, one community lawyer's struggle inside and against the criminal justice system, a larger-than-life Holocaust survivor, and the history of the author's longest friendship.
With verve, wit, and critical dexterity, Tumarkin asks questions about loss, grief, and how our particular histories inform the people we become in the world. Axiomatic introduces an unforgettable voice.
About the Author
Maria Tumarkin is a writer and cultural historian. She is the author of three previous books of ideas, Traumascapes, Courage, and Otherland, all of which received critical acclaim in Australia, where she lives. Her most recent work, Axiomatic, won the 2018 Melbourne Prize for Literature's Best Writing Award.