"This is an urgent, honest, indelible book. Karen Lazar writes straight from the mysterious inner workings of the body, her language nosing its way into the very places where language usually fails. Always, she is writing her way back to life, back to living again – and what she achieves for herself, she achieves for her reader too. We are left feeling moved and gratified, the humanity that runs through each of us restored to its wonder once again."
About the book
In her innovative and polished new collection of prose-poetic echoes, Karen Lazar explores the world of disability through the low-angle lens of those who apprehend the world from a seated position and with altered perceptions and capacities.
This view is offered in three elegant parts: "Cranial Echoes", "Joburg Echoes" and "Cyber Echoes", which reflect the author’s own journey through a stroke, and her adaptation to the long-term after-echoes of radical metamorphosis.
The poetic echoes are an intriguing stylistic creation, which draw the reader into a subtle written and aural landscape.
The reader is firmly interpolated as a co-narrator in the narrative journey through the ingenious device of second-person narration, wherein the reader becomes the "you" who sees via a differently angled lens.
Lazar uses her own privilege as a writing stroke survivor who has not lost language to weave a reverberating story that we should listen to, as so many in South Africa cannot tell this tale.
Line of succession
Your ward neighbour’s sister has just had a baby. She brings him and his clean
milky scent along on every hospital visit. She’s generous with him and he’s
passed around the ward like a friendly letter.
generous milky scent
The baby’s name is Samora, in memory of another neighbour, shot down
by history’s demons. And so the ward starts calling this small person Mr
“Is Mr President visiting today?”
“Mr President needs a new nappy.”
Mr President has taken a shine to you. Only six weeks old but beams at you
over the shoulder of an otherwise crotchety nurse. You beam back, surprised
at your own capacity to smile with your weak, lopsided face and your tender,
Would that all presidents made demands only when hungry, enjoyed being
clean, and brought happiness to grey places.
A tender, bruised optimism.
About the Author
Karen Lazar is a lecturer in English and professional literacies at several actual and virtual campuses in Johannesburg. She was educated at Wits, BA to PhD in English, and lives in Jozi. Karen is the author of a collection of creative non- fiction Hemispheres: Inside a stroke (Modjaji Press, 2011). She writes widely in the field of 'medical humanities', through which she endeavours, as a stroke survivor who has language, to put forward the voices and perceptions of disabled people who may not otherwise be heard or seen. In Echoes, Karen offers 'the world from the seated and off-centre view'.