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Main : feminism, fiction, lesbian, literary, violence against women, Women

ISBN: 9781925581089
232 x 154 mm
192 pp
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Dark Matters : A novel
Susan Hawthorne
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In a dawn raid, Kate is arrested. She is imprisoned, beaten, kept awake and tortured. She has no idea what has happened to her partner, Mercedes. The uncertainty plagues her. It is as if she has no history. Trying to retain her sense of self in a swirling psychic state, she invents stories. And she remembers stories of her mother, her grandmothers and aunts, the rich mythic traditions of Greece. She rearranges them and writes poems in her head. 

After Kate’s death, her niece, Desi, is going through boxes of papers, trying to make sense of her aunt’s life. Desi travels to South America and unlocks the history of Mercedes' family: a history of political torture, disappearance and escape.

Susan Hawthorne’s dark story uncovers the hidden histories of organised violence against lesbians. She traces fear and uncertainty, and finds a narrative of resilience created through the writing of poems. The author asks: how do we pass on stories hidden by both shame and resistance to shame? A novel that is poetic and terrifying.




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This book is poetically written. Hawthorne is a well-known poet. The subject is men's torture of lesbians, a subject that Hawthorne has bravely pursued for years. Part of the story takes place in Australia, but there are flashbacks to death squads in South America. The protagonist, Kate, tries to sustain herself with poetry and memories of Greece even while she is being tortured. But torture decenters her, as it does everyone who undergoes it. The book's other viewpoint character is her niece Desi, who seeks years later to find out what happened to Kate. This is a beautifully written book, but not for those who have flashbacks.
Carol Anne Douglas, Amazon.com
This is a wonderful book that I heartily recommend.

Read the full review here.
Marilyn Dell Brady, Me, You and Books Blog
Dark Matters by Susan Hawthorne is a fascinating book, which in a post- modern way, tell stories about women, their lives and their myths. Through diary sequences, poetry and narrative we get to know Kate, Mercedes and Desi…. Hawthorne has managed to deal with a horrific topic in a beautiful and poetic manner. Very skilfully she utilizes short sentences to manage the tension and the drama. Even in the darkest moments there is relief in the profundity of the thoughts, in the poetic narrative, and in the inspirational strength of Kate.  
Beatriz Copello, Curve Magazine
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