With a remarkable blend of intensity and logic, Aftermath: Violence and the Remaking of a Self
speaks directly to the heart of anyone involved in the recovery of life after trauma. Author Susan Brison, professor of philosophy, shares her survival of rape and attempted murder with depth and passion; you'll witness a personal struggle to survive coupled with the broader issue of coping with sudden violence as an unavoidable fact of life. This book was 10 years in the making, and Brison wisely left her earlier, angrier writings as they originally appeared, followed by calmer, more logical (yet still deeply felt) musings. The change in tone is one survivors will be familiar with.
In her search, Brison discusses public reaction to trauma, and the prescription to forget and move on that is so widely recommended. She covers rape, certainly, but also touches on many other types of violence--the acts of war, murder, and abuse that follow us in the headlines. Philosophers from Wittgenstein to Locke are referenced, up to her final comments: "Recovery no longer seems like picking up the pieces of a shattered self. It's facing the fact that there was never a coherent self there to begin with." --Jill Lightner
From Publishers Weekly
In this movingly written meditation on the effects violence has had on her life, Brison evokes the experience of trauma, both for those who seek to understand its power and for survivors who might find solace in her words. A philosophy professor at Dartmouth, Brison was taking a walk in the French countryside when she was brutally attacked, raped and left for dead. This slim volume is the result of years of recovery both the physical healing in the immediate aftermath and the emotional repairs necessary over the subsequent decade. Her training as a philosopher makes this an intellectually stimulating read, even as she successfully avoids the academic tone that could be off-putting to a wider audience. Brison's reflections on memory and forgetting and the manner in which traumatic events divide time and affect personality and relationships will resonate with anyone who has experienced great pain and suffering, as well as with the people who love and care for them. As she writes on the importance of telling the story, "control, repeatedly exercised, leads to greater control over the memories themselves, making them less intrusive and giving them the kind of meaning that enables them to be integrated into the rest of life." This is a brave and inspiring book and with its references to literature, film, psychology and philosophy, a thought-provoking one, too. (Jan.)Forecast: Brison's work goes far beyond typical memoirs of surviving dreadful circumstances. Booksellers should recommend it to anyone reeling from the events of September 11.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.