Auckland Writers Festival: Friday 13 May: 4pm: The Odd Woman and the City: Vivian Gornick (New York journalist, essayist and critic) in conversation with Jolisa Gracewood.
“I see New York at eye level. I never look up. On the street the feeling is the same. It’s the blissful anonymity of the crowd. You either attach to it immediately or you don’t. It’s all temperamental.” – Vivian Gornick
‘Even War must end some time, and perhaps if we are alive in three or four years’ time, we may recover the hidden childhood again and find that after all the dust and ashes which covered it haven’t spoilt it much.’- Letter from Vera to Roland, 1915
Testament of Youth is a momentous historical text preserving for us – the lucky generations – what war really meant. Most poignantly it is the portrait of Vera Brittain’s unrelenting and tragic psychological annihilation during and after World War One. Through loss after tragedy after loss we see the breakdown of Brittain’s hope, which we would now label ‘post traumatic stress’. Through Brittain’s diary extracts, letters and poems we see her decline from hopeful, energetic, burgeoning feminist and Oxford student – giddily in love for the first time – to a broken, traumatized, suicidal twenty-something who hallucinates that her face is covered in fungus each time she looks in the mirror. Continue reading