Winner of the Royal Society Te Apārangi Award for General Non-Fiction 2017
11 August 2016
Can You Tolerate This? is a collection of twenty-one personal essays by Ashleigh Young. In this spirited and singular book, Young roams freely from preoccupation to preoccupation – Hamilton’s 90s music scene, family histories, a boy with a rare skeletal disease, a stone-collecting French postman, a desire for impossible physical transformation – trying to find some measure of clarity amid uncertainty. How to bear each moment of experience: the inconsequential as much as the shattering? Her search takes us through poignant, funny and raw territories.
‘This is a brave, sometimes confronting, always intriguing, often compelling and distinctly unusual book. The essays are consistently entertaining in a way that is rare in literary nonfiction of any kind. The voice is one which readers will fall in love with.’
‘Some of Ashleigh Young’s personal essays feel to me like beautifully told short stories – they just happen to be true, or true-ish.’
Ashleigh Young works as an editor in Wellington and teaches creative science writing at the International Institute of Modern Letters. Her poetry and essays have been widely published in print and online journals, including Tell You What: Great New Zealand Nonfiction, Five Dials (UK) and The Griffith Review (Australia). Can You Tolerate This? is her second book; her first was the poetry collection Magnificent Moon (VUP, 2012). She gained an MA in Creative Writing from the International Institute of Modern Letters in 2009, winning the Adam Prize. She blogs at eyelashroaming.com.
Cover by Elliot Elam