|19.8 × 13 × 1.3 cm
General – Trade / Code: K
A memoir in the form of a series of sharply etched vignettes that shift astonishingly in time and mood, and range in place from Africa and the US to the streets of London. It demonstrates that no moment is isolated, and that privilege, conflict, race and gender are inherent in all our encounters, from the banal to the extreme.
‘It is elegant, profound, candid, affecting and funny. Taxonomically speaking, though, I have no idea what it is.’
– Houman Barekat, Times Literary Supplement
‘Lara Pawson’s This Is the Place to Be is a stark, compassionate and troubling text that summons a fragmentary autobiography, circling experiences from her growing up in England and her time as a reporter covering civil wars in Angola and Ivory Coast. She deals with big questions through an intimate mosaic of lived experiences – the blank, funny, awful, gentle shards that remain in memory years after events have taken place – returning her again and again to the themes of identity, violence, race, class, sexuality and the everyday lives of people across several continents.
‘The simple form of the book belies a complex structure of association and contrast, point and counterpoint, in which the disconnected events of a life speak to and about each other across time and space, in illuminating ways. Reminiscent on a formal level of Edouard Levé’s Autoportrait and the writing under constraint of Perec and the OuliPo group, Pawson’s poetic recounting of facts also shares something of Kathy Acker and J. G. Ballard, in its attempt to write through both the extraordinary horror and the extraordinary mundanity of trauma.’
– Tim Etchells