Axiomatic by Maria Tumarkin


Janet Malcolm meets The Empathy Exams, in a genre-bending work on how we understand the traumas we inherit. National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist. A New Yorker Best Book of 2019A Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2019.

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“Tumarkin presents a remarkable tour de force . . . These essays will linger in readers’ minds for years after.”—Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

Drawing on nine years of research, Axiomatic explores the ways we understand the traumas we inherit and the systems that sustain them. In five sections—each one built on an axiom about how the past affects the present—Tumarkin weaves together true and intimate stories of a community dealing with the extended aftermath of a suicide, a grandmother’s quest to kidnap her grandson to keep him safe, one community lawyer’s struggle inside and against the criminal justice system, a larger-than-life Holocaust survivor, and the history of the author’s longest friendship.

With verve, wit, and critical dexterity, Tumarkin asks questions about loss, grief, and how our particular histories inform the people we become in the world. Axiomatic introduces an unforgettable voice.

Axiomatic by Maria Tumarkin