No stranger to sacrifice

Eda Gunaydin’s début essay collection
by
July 2022, no. 444
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Root & Branch: Essays on inheritance by Eda Gunaydin

NewSouth, $29.99 pb, 278 pp

No stranger to sacrifice

Eda Gunaydin’s début essay collection
by
July 2022, no. 444

Eda Gunaydin’s collection of essays, Root & Branch, centres on migration, class, guilt, and legacy. It joins the surge of memoir-as-début by millennial writers, who interrogate the personal via the political. Gunaydin, whose family immigrated to Australia from Turkey, grew up in the outer suburbs of Western Sydney – home to a historically migrant and working-class demographic. We learn that her father, a bricklayer, has been the household’s sole income provider as the health of her mother, Besra, meant that she ‘never had a job in this country except cleaning’. Gunaydin meanwhile accepted off-the-books employment in hospitality and retail until she was able to ‘crack into a white-collar position’ at the university where she is completing her PhD. This left her hyper-conscious of intergenerational mobility and class disparity. She worries about what it means ‘to instantly unlock an easier life … while others continu[e] to struggle’. Those others being, namely, her family, whose Blacktown postcode means limited access to adequately funded essential services, reliable public transport, and affordable housing. It is a concern driving much of the book – how to reconcile gratitude with guilt, particularly when Gunaydin cannot divorce the opportunities available to her in life from her family’s sacrifices.

Mindy Gill reviews 'Root & Branch: Essays on inheritance' by Eda Gunaydin

Root & Branch: Essays on inheritance

by Eda Gunaydin

NewSouth, $29.99 pb, 278 pp

Buy this book

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