To Throw Away Unopened
Establishing herself as an accomplished confessional writer, Viv Albertine’s second book is a searingly honest account of her life post-divorce as she settles in Hackney. Ultimately a study in family dynamics, negotiating identities as daughter, sister, mother while always being an outsider, the book is rich with insight and peppered with quotes from other writers such as Plath, Solnit, Rhys which add another layer to articulating this particular female experience. With extracts from her mother and father’s diaries, Albertine documents the fallibility of memory and truth, the psychic legacy of her mother and the anger and resilience that informs her worldview.
What was I fighting for? Even now I’m not sure. Something so old and so deep, it has no words, no shape, no logic.
Every memoir is a battle between reality and invention – but in her follow up to ‘Clothes, Music, Boys’, Viv Albertine has reinvented the genre with her unflinching honesty. ‘To Throw Away Unopened’ is a fearless dissection of one woman’s obsession with the truth – the truth about family, power, and her identity as a rebel and outsider. It is a gaping wound of a book, both an exercise in blood-letting and psychological archaeology, excavating what lies beneath: the fear, the loneliness, the anger. It is a brutal expose of human dysfunctionality, the impossibility of true intimacy, and the damage wrought upon us by secrets and revelations, siblings and parents.
Viv Albertine has always been obsessed with the truth: the truth about family, power, and her identity as a rebel and outsider. But at what cost? In this brutally honest memoir she relentlessly exposes human dysfunctionality: the impossibility of intimacy, and the damage wrought upon us by secrets and revelations, siblings and parents. Written with Albertine’s unique vulnerability and intelligence, To Throw Away Unopened is a startling self-portrait and a testament to rebuilding oneself and facing the world again.
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