More Human: Maria Tumarkin’s Axiomatic

Features, News

By Sonia Nair

In classic philosophy, an axiom is seen as a statement that is so obvious or well-established it’s routinely accepted without controversy or question. But in modern logic, an axiom is simply a premise or starting point for reasoning.

With her structurally impressive fourth nonfiction work – which tackles familiar themes from the physical and emotional significance of places that have withstood significant trauma, to the shifting conceptions of home, identity and belonging – Maria Tumarkin both demolishes this first definition and underscores the second. Blurring the lines between memoir, essay and reportage, the book’s chapters unspool from Tumarkin’s encounters with certain people, to encapsulate that ‘nothing is more human than the experience of feeling trapped’.