by Stephen Clingman
Here a further motif comes into play, for in the operation Stephen's vision was affected, and his eyes came to see differently from one another: divided vision in a divided world. How, in these circumstances, can we come to a deeper kind of vision, how can we achieve wholeness, acceptance, find our place in the midst of turmoil and change?
In an enchanting and cumulative narrative set on three continents, Stephen's memories make up the hologram of the book's subtitle. It is a story that is personal, painful, comic, and ultimately uplifting: a book not so much of the coming of age, but the coming of perspective.
'Birthmark is a profound reflection on vision and identity. From the minutely observed details of a Johannesburg childhood, through the dark comedy of military service, to the challenges of making a new life as an immigrant scholar, Clingman examines his own perspectives and their origins. How did I come to see this way? How does this way of seeing shape the person I am? Can it be changed? To answer such difficult questions, he must go beneath the shimmering surface to find deeper patterns in his mind and body, and reveal the "underlying grammar of things". The result is a thoughtful, unconventional memoir that will change the reader's perspective too. I was engrossed, challenged, moved.' -- Ivan Vladislavic
About the Author
Stephen Clingman grew up in Johannesburg, where he went to school and attended Wits University. After graduating with a degree in English literature, he won a scholarship to Oxford where he completed a doctorate on the writings of Nadine Gordimer. He has written widely on South African and transnational literature. He is the author of an acclaimed biography of Bram Fischer, which won the Sunday Times/Alan Paton Award, South Africa's premier prize for non-fiction. He now lives in Amherst in the United States, where he is professor of English at the University of Massachusetts and directs the Interdisciplinary Studies Institute.
Author Stephen Clingman
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