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The Things We Cannot Say

Harriet Shawcross



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Canongate Books Ltd
06 February 2020
As a teenager, Harriet Shawcross stopped speaking at school for almost a year. As an adult, she became fascinated by the limits of language. From the inexpressible trauma of trench warfare and the aftermath of natural disaster to the taboo of coming out, Harriet studies wartime poet George Oppen, interviews the author of The Vagina Monologues, meets Nepalese earthquake-survivors and the founders of The Samaritans, asking why words scare us and what makes us silent.
By:   Harriet Shawcross
Imprint:   Canongate Books Ltd
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Edition:   Main
Dimensions:   Height: 198mm,  Width: 129mm,  Spine: 21mm
Weight:   236g
ISBN:   9781786890078
ISBN 10:   1786890070
Pages:   352
Publication Date:   06 February 2020
Audience:   General/trade ,  College/higher education ,  Professional and scholarly ,  ELT Advanced ,  Primary
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Harriet Shawcross is an award-winning filmmaker and journalist. She obtained an MA in Creative Non-Fiction from the University of East Anglia, and was shortlisted for the Manchester Fiction Prize. Unspeakable is her first book.

Reviews for Unspeakable: The Things We Cannot Say

A personal study of silence . . . As a teenager, Harriet Shawcross stopped speaking for a year. Her attempt to make sense of that experience investigates the essence of language itself . . . Part memoir, part investigative journalism, Unspeakable is a deeply felt attempt at making sense of this period in her life, and of how others manage when words fail them . . . [A] compassionate book * * Guardian * * Extremely affecting . . . Shawcross writes eloquently . . . Caring, inquisitive -- Stuart Kelly * * Scotsman * * Elegant . . . Shawcross can certainly write * * Observer * * Shawcross has set herself the challenge of exploring these wordless moments in order to examine how silence moulds our personalities and shapes our lives . . . A compelling idea . . . well-told and engaging * * Mail on Sunday * * There is a lot of fascinating material here, from meeting an artist who turned speechlessness into a six-month project . . . to the story of George Oppen, the objectivist poet who ceased writing amid the McCarthyist churn of postwar America * * Sunday Times * * The things we find 'unspeakable' are the subject of Harriet Shawcross's fascinating book * * Daily Mail * * What a fascinating subject to have been chosen by a journalist . . . The book as it stands is a pleasure to read, choosing to take the reader towards an examination of the power, both positive and perilous, of silence * * Evening Gazette * * Explores what makes us silent, from the aftermath of natural disaster to the taboo of coming out. A heady mix of memoir, history, literary criticism and journalism * * Sunday Post * * Shawcross looks at the ways in which breaking a silence can be healing . . . Unspeakable is engaging and informative . . . Thought-provoking * * Saturday Paper * *

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