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Tegan Bennett Daylight

When William Blake wrote of seeing ‘a World in a Grain of Sand’, he meant the details: their ability to evoke entire universes. So did Aldous Huxley when, experimenting with mescaline, he discovered ‘the miracle … of naked existence’ in a vase of flowers. More recently, Jenny Odell’s bestseller How To Do Nothing: Resisting the attention economy (2019) made a case for rejecting productivity in favour of active attention to the world around us.  

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Let's start with the title. The act of reading is anything but simple, as Fiona McFarlane and Gabrielle Carey both point out. Eyes, brain, and mind cooperate to create from a series of symbols with no intrinsic representative value a coherent message, or some amusing nonsense, or a persuasive argument, or a boring anecdote, or a parade of transparent lies.

D ...

Six Bedrooms by Tegan Bennett Daylight

December 2015, no. 377

The best short stories are like a glimpse into a room as you rush past in a train – the messy kitchen table, an empty handbag, the perfectly made bed – a snapshot with enough detail to suggest so much more.

In Six Bedrooms, Tegan Bennett Daylight takes us into the world of growing up, of desire and shame, and of repeatedly making mistakes. She k ...

Safety by Tegan Bennett Daylight & The Corner of Your Eye by Kate Lyons

May 2006, no. 281

There is a scene in Kate Lyons’s The Corner of Your Eye in which the narrator, Lucy, watches her daughter, Flo, being comforted over the death of a bird by their kind but bumbling friend, Archie. As Archie soothes Flo, hugging her and talking to her about what they will do next, Lucy stands apart, not knowing how to act. She feels negligent and guilty: ‘I felt like a pretend mother,’ she says. ‘A bloodless cut out.’

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