About the book
Axiomatic is a boundary-shifting fusion of thinking and storytelling which takes as its starting point five axioms. These beliefs about the role the past plays in our present are often evoked as if they are timeless and self-evident truths. It's precisely because they are neither, yet still we are persuaded by them, that they tell us a great deal about the forces that shape our culture and the way we live. More than eight long years in the making, and utilising her time as a Sidney Myer Creative Fellow, Axiomatic actively seeks to reset the non-fiction form in Australia.
About the author
Maria Tumarkin is a writer and cultural historian. Her latest book Axiomatic won the Melbourne Prize for Literature’s Best Writing Award, was shortlisted for the Stella Prize, the Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards, the New South Wales Premier’s Literary Awards, was longlisted for the Australian Indie Book Awards, and now has publishers in the United States and United Kingdom. Maria is also the author of three other acclaimed books of ideas: Traumascapes, Courage, and Otherland. Tumarkin’s essays have appeared in several editions of The Best Australian Essays, Griffith Review, Meanjin, The Monthly, Sydney Review of Books, The Age, The Australian, and Inside Story. Tumarkin is involved in wide-ranging artistic collaborations with visual artists, theatre makers and audio designers. She was a 2013–14 Sidney Myer Creative Fellow in humanities and she teaches creative writing at the University of Melbourne.
The principal framing technique of this fascinating book is five well known and oft-repeated axioms. 'Time Heals All Wounds'; 'History Repeats Itself…'; 'Those Who Forget the Past are Condemned to Repeat It'; 'Give Me a Child Before the Age of Seven, and I'll Give You the Woman'; 'You Can't Enter the Same River Twice'. These observations, truisms, are often evoked as if they self-evident eternal truths. They are, of course, neither self-evident nor eternal but they are persuasive. These are the axioms that reveal a great deal about how we intercept and mould our society, culture and individual lives. As familiar as each of these are Tumarkin turns them upside down and uses them to explore the intersection of past and present memories and the entanglement of human frailty. The material covered is dark, and it is challenging, these stories are each in turn difficult. Ranging from the tragedy of suicide on those left behind, to the unfathomable impact of parental memories and experiences on the children of holocaust survivors. This is a challenging and rewarding book, reminding us that we are shaped by, as much as we shape, those around us.