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Small Acts of Disappearance

Fiona Wright

Reviewed by Lorenzo Princi
Small Acts of Disappearance by Fiona Wright
Cover Concept by Lorenzo Princi, 28 November 2015
It narrows the world so minutely and completely, because it causes such an intensity of focus within the malnourished brain, the world seems to shrink, just as the body does, and by doing so, it seems to come back under our command.

Small Acts of Disappearance is a very personal account about the author’s own experience with a severe eating disorder. The self-awareness and acknowledgement is fundamental to the book’s appeal and Wright’s absolute openness about this most private of subjects is commendable. Falling somewhere in between memoir and research paper, the ten essays centered around hunger create a loose but cohesive narrative, easily flowing into one another due to Wright’s poetic sensibilities.

Wright shares her profound insight through associations between place and relationships, examined through her reflections of life overseas and experiences in hospital. The book is a perfect blend of comparative literary references and detailed explanations of the physical, mental and emotional effects involved with eating disorders. The essay titled, In Miniature, particular resonated with me.

Refreshingly, Wright’s work is not aiming to pass judgement, the external factors or imagery that I was (albeit pre-judgmentally) expecting were never mentioned. The book is an inward journey of recovery with Wright able to detail and explain this difficult subject through biological, philosophical and cultural concepts. Her charm also allowing for a sprinkling of appropriate comedy at times.

As someone who has had little exposure and even less willingness to understand the complexity of a disease so easily dismissed though apathy or a simplistic male tendency to “fix it” by just eating something, I found this book eye-opening and perhaps unintentionally, delightful.