Express press service
This debut collection of electrifying essays by Scottish book author Ducks, Booker Prize shortlist and Goldsmiths Prize winner Newburyport is mostly a bold tirade of complaints. Needless to say, Ellmann is a feisty writer, and she’s certainly furious with many people and things around her – something she highlights in this unrestrained book that has her speaking her mind and expressing herself. take on everything from matriarchy to war and Covid-era travel.
She begins by criticizing Trump – “one of the greatest failures of all time”, his supporters and the United States in general, men and patriarchy around the world. In fact, his blatant hatred for all things America couldn’t be louder and clearer. “When they get tired of killing each other, they massacre Iraqis or Afghans,” she writes.
Ellmann insists on how the United States has reached a whole new level of patriarchal absurdity. She thinks that now that Trump – with all of his “grossness, volatility and tragic magnetism” – is gone, we need to start repairing the neurological damage he inflicted on the world.
Another theme of the book is his aversion to technology, the web, digital art, and just about anything that runs on electricity. In “The lost art of staying put”, the writer criticizes air transport in the 21st century. Despite a global pandemic – with its many perils and restrictions – she observes that modern explorers simply cannot stop their wanderlust.
“A million new reasons to travel are being fabricated every moment,” notes Ellmann. On the contrary, it extols the many virtues of confinement and its immobility. “There’s beauty in less activity, less financial transactions, less chaos, less haste, less frenzy, less movement,” says Ellmann.
In “The Woman of the House,” the author explains that feminism is no longer just about equal pay and abortion rights, but rather “appreciating femininity for femininity’s sake.” Continuing her feminist rage in “Three Strikes,” she notably shines a light on the global rape crisis, a situation that Indians in particular can relate to.
Moreover, she believes that war goes directly against women’s interests and is another way to silence them. According to her, even books and films about wars and crimes often reinforce interest in patriarchal behaviors.
For all the rantings, Ellmann also offers some answers. She recommends that all women – “private, public, local, national and international” – strike in various ways (no housework, work or sex). She also suggests that the solution to most of society’s ills is female supremacy. “To end sexism, racism, violence against women, global bombing campaigns and avert the coming ecological disaster, women must put their hands in the reins, and fast.”
things are against us
By: Lucy Elmann
Publisher: Picador India
Price: Rs 499