Taking It Personally

A History of Silence: A Memoir by Lloyd Jones Text, 2013, 273 pages, $32.99 The terrible earthquakes in Christchurch in 2010 and 2011 changed the physical and emotional landscape of a city, and of a country. And many people who were geographically distant from the catastrophe (like Lloyd Jones in Wellington, and me in Melbourne) found themselves wrenched askew by a profound and unsettling empathy. I was mesmerised by the almost slow-motion, blow-by-blow clarity of Jones’s description of how he apprehended the full import of what was happening down south. Beginning—“How strange to find it was ourselves, rather than the…

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