November 2016 Non-fiction Vagabond Press

Mothertongue Sybille Smith

Sybille Smith


From street dogs of Buenos Aires to street cars of Vienna, from Sydney in the1940’s to the puzzles of return journeys and the enigmas of ageing, these precisely observed and finely crafted essays are by turns moving, funny and profound. More than a memoir, they are an investigation of the act of remembering and the intricate part language plays in retrieving the past: There is a sort of continuous band of surface memory, registering daily events and able to deliver a printout at any time. There is a deeper level of archival data, which you can scroll through for a specific piece of information. And there is cutting a hole in the ice and lowering a line into the black water. These pieces are both entertaining and thought-provoking, and reveal a unique voice among contemporary essayists.