Strangers do it, friends do it, politicians do it and so do chimpanzees: in fact, the handshake is so deeply embedded in our history and culture that it might even be older than humanity itself. So let’s shake on it, and join palaeoanthropologist Ella Al-Shamahi as she embarks on a voyage of discovery through everything from evolutionary biology to the etiquette of modern life.
This is a memoir from the author of ‘Men Explain Things to Me’ that asks how a young writer finds her voice in a society that prefers women to be silent. From the era of punk, growing gay pride and West Coast activism through to the latter years of second-wave feminism and the present day, this is the foundational story of an emerging artist struggling against violence and oppression. It is an electric account of the pauses and gains in feminism over the past forty years.
From meditations on subway poetry and the temporal resonances of an empty Italian street, to considerations of the lives and work of Sigmund Freud, Constantine Cavafy, W. G. Sebald, John Sloan, Marcel Proust, and Fernando Pessoa, and portraits of cities such as Alexandria and St. Petersburg, ‘Homo Irrealis’ is a deep reflection of the imagination’s power to shape our memories under time’s seemingly intractable hold.
This isn’t just any cookery book. It is ‘Mastering the Art of French Cooking’, first published in 1961, & it’s a book that is a statement, not of culinary intent, but of aspiration, a commitment to a certain sort of good life, a certain sort of world-view; a votive object implying taste & appetite & a little je ne sais quoi.