Unspeakable: The Things We Cannot Say – Harriet Shawcross
As a teenager Harriet Shawcross stopped speaking at school for almost a year, retreating into herself and communicating only when strictly necessary and unavoidable. She decide that this was part teenage reticence and also partly because there is, and was, a social stigma about talking (and not talking) about things. As an adult she became fascinated by the limits of language and in this book she asks what makes us silent.
Why do words often fail us? Shawcross interviews Samaritans workers who are trained to listen silently to those in need and also refers to the work of poet George Oppen who couldn’t write a line for 25 years. Unspeakable is a study of the power of silence, part memoir, part literary criticism and part investigative journalism.
Hardback. 336 pages.
14.2cm x 22.5cm x 2.9cm