Sunday 24 January 2016

Reckoning by Magda Szubanski

I began Reckoning knowing about all the rave reviews.

This can be a good thing or a very bad thing. Expectations are high and it can be hard to meet them.

However, in this case, there was nothing to fear.

From the very first sentence I was in wow! mode.
I was impressed; I was enthralled.

Szubanski has written a celebrity memoir way above and beyond the usual fare or remembrances. Perhaps it has something to do with the Polish word rozumiesz - understand - which dominates Magda's narrative.

This memoir is not just about memory and truth. It is about understanding - the drive to really know and understand what happened and why and what its impact has been and continues to be. And with that understanding comes a sense of judgement - a reckoning - was it wrong or right - is there blame to be apportioned? Guilt to be felt?

This story is very personal,
He needed to forget. I needed to remember. For him, only the present moment would set him free. For me, the key lies buried in the past.
But it also seeks to find a universal truth,
She knows the horrible truth that, while suffering is universal, the world cares more about some people's suffering than others. 
This is the memoir of a woman who has worked hard to work things out. An intelligent, caring woman who has been brave enough to expose her soul, her fears and her inner life for us all to see.

Reckoning is one of the best memoirs I've read in quite some time.

Later: I had the chance to hear Szubanski speak at the Sydney Writer's Festival - my thoughts about that chat are here.


  1. It's incredible isn't it? I loved it from the beginning too. I'm listening to the audiobook version, and it's just delightful- wonderful to have Magda's voice, her accents are great. And as you say it's solid and meaningful. I'm listening to each disc twice through, so I should have finished, but I like it too much to rush. I'm on disc 8/11 so it will a while before I get to finishing I suppose.

    1. A part of me wished I had done this as an audio book too - hearing Magda do all the voices and accents would add to the whole experience.

    2. I finally got to finishing my review! I loved it too. The audiobook is fabulous- actually I'm on a bit of an Aussie bio audiobook binge. Have recently listened to Flesh Wounds too, and have Rosie Batty's audiobook lined up, not sure what sort of mood I want to be in for that one though.


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