Can You Tolerate This?

Can You Tolerate This?

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'Beautiful, unusual and memorable ... I love this book' MAGGIE NELSON, author of THE ARGONAUTS

In Can You Tolerate This? - the title comes from the question chiropractors ask to test a patient's pain threshold - Ashleigh Young ushers us into her early years in the faraway yet familiar landscape of New Zealand: fantasising about Paul McCartney, cheering on her older brother's fledging music career, and yearning for a larger and more creative life.

As Young's perspective expands, a series of historical portraits - a boy with a rare skeletal disease, a French postman who built a stone fortress by hand, a generation of Japanese shut-ins - strike unexpected personal harmonies, as an unselfconscious childhood gives way to painful shyness in adolescence. As we watch Young fall in and out of love, undertake intense physical exercise that masks something deeper, and gradually find herself through her writing, a highly particular psyche comes into view: curious, tender and exacting in her observations of herself and the world around her.

How to bear each moment of experience: the inconsequential as much as the shattering?

In this spirited and singular collection of essays, Ashleigh Young attempts to find some measure of clarity amidst the uncertainty, exploring the uneasy tensions - between safety and risk, love and solitude, the catharsis of grief and the ecstasy of creation - that define our lives.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 256 pages
  • 135 x 205mm | 364g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1526600358
  • 9781526600356

Review Text

From the first sentence of this collection onward, you know Ashleigh Young is here to deliver cool, compelling, surprising sentences, which add up to beautiful, unusual and memorable essays. I love this book Maggie Nelson, author of The Argonauts
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Review quote

Young's writing explores fragility and resilience with a visceral, bodily focus * Vogue '13 Books to Thrill, Entertain and Sustain You This Summer' * Compelling, exhilarating ... The essays center around the body, our first, last, and always home in the world, and the ways in which its limitations force us to find accommodations, force us to come to terms with our own strengths and frailties, as well as those of the people - all those other frail, strong bodies - around us. * Nylon * From the first sentence of this collection onward, you know Ashleigh Young is here to deliver cool, compelling, surprising sentences, which add up to beautiful, unusual and memorable essays. I love this book * Maggie Nelson, author of The Argonauts * Ashleigh Young has the brilliant knack of cutting to the chase while you're not looking, like some kind of reverse pickpocket slipping notes into your bag before dashing away into the crowd. I'll be savouring this book for many years to come, and slipping it into the pockets of unsuspecting friends * Jon McGregor, author of Reservoir 13 * In prose witty and tender, Ashleigh Young sings the body problematic, as well as the questions of how to live in it: both with others and in solitude. This book made me feel less alone * Melissa Broder, author of So Sad Today and The Pisces * Reading Ashleigh Young's essays is like meeting an old and much-loved friend at the end of the world after you've been wandering in the wilderness for days, a friend who's so wise and funny and kind and makes you feel so much better about everything that you start thinking, gosh ... I guess ... I guess the apocalypse is actually kind of okay ... * Emily Berry, author of Dear Boy and Stranger, Baby * Tender, witty, and endowed with a penetrating emotional acuity, Ashleigh Young's evocative essays gaze out into the world, searching it for moments of connection and clues to the true nature of our curious, fragile humanity. This is a book to hold close and fall in love with * Alexandra Kleeman, author of You Too Can Have a Body Like Mine * Yes! This is what I've wanted essays to be - character studies, maps, shrines, elegies, these forms that are mysterious, synaptic creatures. At the center of each of Ashleigh Young's tender studies of isolation and place there is a heart, how it pulses * Kate Zambreno, author of Heroines and Green Girl * Calling to mind both Joan Didion and Anton Chekov, Young is relentless in her examination of herself and endlessly curious and compassionate in her consideration of the world. Can You Tolerate This? offers a glimpse into this extraordinarily promising writer's quest to seek in the small accidents of her individual life the outlines of a much larger reality * Windham-Campbell Judges' Panel * In this stunning and unforgettable collection, Young grapples with the question so many women face on a daily basis: how much can our bodies take? A fierce and unsentimental look at the power and pain and beauty and struggle that are the costs and benefits of being embodied * Emily Rapp Black, author of The Still Point of the Turning World * Some essayists shine a torch in the darkness, and propose a way forward. Another kind of essayist - the Ashleigh Young kind - whispers, "We are lost, we are lost. Let's try this way," and, taking us by the hand, leads us deeper into the dark wood, into the mystery that is our life * The Spinoff * A work of resonant literary art ... naked, beautiful essays about self and its exoskeletons, where one is and where one longs to be * Australian Book Review *
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About Ashleigh Young

Ashleigh Young is the author of the award-winning essay collection Can You Tolerate This?, as well as a critically acclaimed book of poetry, Magnificent Moon. The recipient of a 2017 Windham-Campbell Prize in Nonfiction and an Ockham New Zealand Book Award, among other honours, Ashleigh Young is an editor at Victoria University Press, and teaches creative writing at the International Institute of Modern Letters. She lives in Wellington, New Zealand.
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Rating details

191 ratings
4.5 out of 5 stars
5 59% (113)
4 33% (63)
3 7% (13)
2 1% (2)
1 0% (0)
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