Danielle Clode reviews 'Turmoil: Letters from the brink' by Robyn Williams

Danielle Clode reviews 'Turmoil: Letters from the brink' by Robyn Williams

Turmoil: Letters from the brink

by Robyn Williams

NewSouth, $32.99 pb, 223 pp, 9781742235776

In 2014, veteran ABC science broadcaster Robyn Williams was diagnosed with bowel cancer. It was, he reports, his third brush with death, following cardiac arrest in 1988 and bladder cancer in 1991. His description of the experience, including surgical reduction of his gut and rectum and subsequent debilitating chemotherapy, is brief but graphic. He has survived, but the experience, as he puts it, quite literally, gave him the shits. More positively though, it also resulted in this book: a collection of letters from the brink, ‘the book you write when you don’t have much time left’, although it is not entirely clear whether this lack of time is his own or, collectively, ours.

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Danielle Clode

Danielle Clode

Danielle Clode is a South Australian environmental writer who was the ABR Dahl Trust Fellow in 2014. She is currently writing a biography of the nature writer Edith Coleman. She writes across a diverse range of forms, from scientific articles to creative non-fiction, including Voyages to the South Seas which won the Victoria Premier’s Award for Non-fiction in 2007. Her Fellowship article, ‘Seeing the Wood for the Trees’, appeared in the November 2014 issue of ABR.

Published in October 2018, no. 405

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