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Book launch of ‘The Life of Stuff’ at Hunting Raven

Local author, Susannah Walker’s new book ‘The Life of Stuff – A memoir about the mess we leave behind’ will be published next month by Bantam Press. Frome’s Hunting Raven bookshop will host a launch event with the author on Tuesday 22nd May at 7:00pm

The book, which has been praised by authors Clover Stroud and Ruth Hogan, explores the objects we hold onto and how they represent the fragility of relationships.

After her mother’s death, Susannah Walker set out to find the truth about her mother through the hoards of possessions she’d left behind. Until her mother Patricia died, Susannah had no idea how much of a hoarder she’d become.

In the months following the death, Susannah had to sort through a dilapidated house filled to the brim with rubbish and treasures, in search of a woman she’d never really known.

Her hope was to piece together her mother’s life and discover her reasons for hoarding, in the last chance to understand their troubled relationship.

What emerged from the mess of scattered papers, discarded photographs and an extraordinary amount of stuff was the history of a sad and fractured family, haunted by dead children, divorces and alcohol.

The Life of Stuff is a moving memoir about mourning and the shoring up of possessions against the losses and griefs of life, a deeply personal story that raises universal questions about what makes us who we are.

What do our possessions say about us?

Why do we project such meaning on to them?

And what cruel twist turns someone who simply enjoys having objects around them into the kind of person who hoards compulsively, ending their days in abject squalor?

Clover Stroud, author of The Wild Other said, “‘This extraordinary, beautiful memoir gripped me from the first page. I loved this book and it moved me profoundly, whilst also making me look at my own life – and the stuff I carry with me – with a new eye.

“Walker is really concerned with human relationships, and in her writing addresses big questions about what it means to be both a mother and a daughter, the power of memory and the devastating loss all of us feel with the passing of time.”

Ruth Hogan, author of The Keeper of Lost Things said, “Susannah’s book is not only a brave testament to an imperfect but precious relationship, but also a reflection on the similarities, however uncomfortable, between mother and daughter. It is a book I know I shall read again.”

Susannah Walker studied English literature at Cambridge, followed by design history at the Royal College of Art and the Victoria & Albert Museum.

After starting out as a writer and curator, she then worked in television on programmes ranging from ‘The Late Show’ to ‘Changing Rooms’.

She has published three non-fiction books about various aspects of design, and runs a vintage poster blog and website about post-war graphic design and history, as well as lecturing on posters and designers at places as diverse as the National Army Museum, the Art Workers’ Guild and Marks & Spencer Archive.

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