A book about the connections we form with literature and each other
Tegan Bennett Daylight has led a life in books – as a writer, a teacher and a critic, but first and foremost as a reader.
In this deeply insightful and intimate work, Daylight describes how her reading has nourished her life, and how life has informed her reading. In both, she shows us that it’s the small points of connection – the details – that really matter: what we notice when someone close to us dies, when we give birth, when we make friends. In life’s disasters and delights, the details are what we can share and compare and carry with us.
Daylight writes with invigorating candour and compassion about her mother’s last days; her own experiences of childbearing and its aftermath (in her celebrated essay ‘Vagina’); her long admiration of Helen Garner and George Saunders; and her great loves and friendships. Each chapter is a revelation, and a celebration of how books offer not an escape from ‘real life’ but a richer engagement with the business of living.
The result is a work that will truly deepen your relationship with books, and with other readers. The delight is in the details.
‘An intimate and wise celebration of the joy and solace we find in books.’ Books & Publishing
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‘Daylight is simply a superb writer. Her prose is supple, discursive, funny, restrained and loving. On finishing The Details, I felt as I do at the end of every great book: washed clean and scoured out; unmade and remade. Like all great art, The Details is about many things at once: among them birth and death, laughter and misery, mothers and children, the body and the spirit – and informing and transforming all this, of course, it is about reading and the creation of a sustaining inner life. It reminds us that in life as in writing, it’s the illuminating detail that reveals the truth of who we are. If you love reading, you’ll cherish this book for showing you why.’
Charlotte Wood, author of The Weekend and The Natural Way of Things