Maria Tumarkin

Maria Tumarkin

is a writer and cultural historian.


About Maria Tumarkin

Maria Tumarkin is a writer and cultural historian. She is the author of three books of ideas: Traumascapes (2005), Courage (2007) and Otherland (2010).


Articles about Maria Tumarkin

Articles by Maria Tumarkin

The unspeakable by Meghan Daum cover

What The Essayist Spills

'What are essays for? They are for thinking about things that need to be thought about yet don’t get thought about much, or at all, or interestingly, or for long enough. They are for picking up ideas, feelings, forces in the air, still unnamed and amorphous, and giving them a foothold in language. Whatever is in the air and whatever is disappearing – unnoticed, unmourned. They are for resisting choices offered to us that are not true, yet made to seem inescapable.'

Bold capitals, squiggly underline!!

Chast burrows into this feral old age and draws it out with uncanny, page-expanding, emotional precision. It is not reporting from the trenches, or a facing-down of the last frontier, but something else. Chast is giving over a whole multi-tracked, multi-voiced, sensory feast of a book to something – something barely bearable sometimes, and infused with pain and dread always; something that gets sprinted past, or poeticised to within an inch of its life, or else chronicled with a deadly, breathless earnestness – and she does it in such a way that I could not tear myself away from her book.