28 April 2021

Guest Review: Exit by Laura Waddell

Exit by Laura Waddell book cover
* Copy courtesy of Bloomsbury Australia *


The second instalment in my series of reviews from the Object Lessons series of books by Bloomsbury Academic is Exit by Laura Waddell. I'll leave you with Neil Béchervaise for his thoughts on this one.

Neil's Review

As a prescient reminder that lament, rage, reflection and even trivial recall never really leave us, Laura Waddell’s Exit is, indeed, an Object Lesson; a lesson in the fine line between ‘coming’ and ‘going’; between ‘in’ and ‘out’, between ‘now you see it’ and ‘now you don’t’.

While definition is always important, the signs and signifiers for ‘exit’ connote ‘place’ rather than ‘presence’, ‘presence’ rather than ‘existence’. Reviewing her own sense of self – particularly in terms of her Scots origins and the language she can never really use because it probably no longer exists, Waddell extends her readers’ sense of location from ‘place’ to ‘identity’; her anger at being excluded, maybe excluding herself, from an ideal which she knows herself to be. From ‘emigrant’ to ‘immigrant’ we may transition into ‘aliens’ – not necessarily ‘little green people’ but different nevertheless, while still ‘the same’. Upon exit, we are cast into that episode of The Twilight Zone in which, she recalls:
“Aliens were frightening because they mirrored our worst human tendencies”      Page 2
Within its brief 130 pages of information, anecdote, recollection and personal reflection, Laura Waddell’s Exit shifts from substantial to existential before closing with a rush that is reminiscent of the closing door which reminds us that while we, as readers, may still be here, the author has gone. What remains is our responsibility – we found our way in so now we must decide what is out.

You can seize this book at Booktopia.

Neil's Rating:

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