A Certain Light: A Memoir of Family, Loss and Hope
About the book
With great courage and empathy, Cynthia Banham asks the difficult questions about family, about survival, and fearlessly tells the stories that are never told.
Surviving a horrific plane crash which leaves her severely and permanently disabled, unable until now to write her own story, Cynthia found that the lives of her Italian grandfather, Alfredo, and his intriguing older sister, Amelia, resonated with her own. Discovering their sacrifice, joy, fear and love, from Trieste to Germany and America, and finally to Australia, their stories mirror and illuminate Cynthia's own determination and courage in the face of overwhelming adversity.
About the author
Cynthia Banham grew up in Sydney and worked there as a solicitor and, later, a journalist. Cynthia completed a Doctor of Philosophy and a Master in International Affairs at the Australian National University. In 2015 she was awarded a UQ Fellowship at the University of Queensland to research and teach in the School of Political Science and International Studies. Her first book, Liberal Democracies and the Torture of Their Citizens, based on her doctoral thesis, was published in 2017. She is currently a Visitor at the Australian National University's School of Regulation and Global Governance.
A Certain Light is a deeply literary memoir which lifts the genre to a higher level. Banham's study of the complex responses to great life-shaping tragedies is revealing and inspiring. Surviving a horrific plane crash which leaves her severely and permanently disabled is, as it turns out, one of the many challenges in her life. This shattering traumatic event and its aftermath provide the lens and focus to examine her multidimensional life and enables her to work through her complicated and difficult relationship with her mother and her God. There is catharsis in re-examining her life and history in consequence of these transformative events. A Certain Light is a sharp, unflinching account of being human, for the plane crash removed all artifice and stripped away from her former layers of politeness. This is an unusual memoir in which the author is prepared to reveal her vulnerability, her constant and unrelenting pain, physical, emotional and even spiritual. More than a standard autobiography, this is an exposure of her inner self, as she re-examines her family through the prism of trauma and its lasting legacy.