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On Trying To Keep Still

Jenny Diski

4 Reviews

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Biography: general, Prose: non-fiction

From the award-winning, fabulously unique writer - comes a most unusual series of journeys from Lapland to New Zealand to Somerset. Now in paperback. 'A luminous, brilliantly witty account of the trials of seeking stillnes' Joanna Kavenna, Telegraph

Now in B Format
From the award-winning, fabulously unique writer - comes a most unusual series of journeys from Lapland to New Zealand to Somerset. 'A luminous, brilliantly witty account of the trials of seeking stillnes' Joanna Kavenna, Telegraph

Jenny Diski's attempt to keep still and mentally idle resulted in a year in which she travelled to New Zealand, spent two months almost alone in a cottage in the country and visited the Sami people of Lapland. Diski, fails to keep still and, like the philosopher Montaigne, keeps a record of her ramblings both mental and physical hoping as he did in time to make her mind ashamed of itself. Interspersed with ill-tempered descriptions of these trips are digressions on the subject of her sore foot; her childhood desire for 'a condition', thoughts about growing older, spiders, fundamentalism and the problems of keeping warm.

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Praise for On Trying To Keep Still

  • While much of the collection revolves around Diski's attempt to exercise her stupor to its fullest degree, there is nothing lazy about her writing. Combining philosophy with travelogue and personal memoir - in particular, memories of her difficult childhood - On Trying to Keep Still is unflaggingly engaging. It is also very funny - Sophie Ratcliffe in the New Statesman

  • Sometimes, as though she can't help it, Diski slips very enjoyably into a travel-writer mode, but On Trying to Keep Still is really a voyage round the author's head. It's a brave and moving admission of a way of life that society isn't geared up to cope - The Herald

  • Diski epitomises the pleasure of travelling alone... She seeks a mental inertia yet her book proves that, even when idling, the mind is always at work, remembering, recording, revising - Mark Sanderson, Sunday Telegraph

  • This is unique, and wholly wonderful - Stephanie Cross, Daily Telegraph

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Jenny Diski

Jenny Diski is the author of eight novels and two memoirs: SKATING TO ANTARCTICA and STRANGER ON A TRAIN. She lives in Cambridge.

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