Dave chats with John Kinsella’s about his new memoir Displaced (Transit Lounge $29.99, March 2020) takes us deep into the heart of what it means to belong and unbelong. The joys and travails of childhood, adult addictions, missteps and changing directions are acutely captured in poignant detail. While centred on Jam Tree Gully in rural Western Australia, the memoir also moves between Ohio, Schull and Cambridge, mixing regionalism with an international sense of responsibility. What will strike the reader are the detailed observations of daily life, the engagement with topography and flora and fauna that embody the author’s conviction that ‘all is in everything and that every leaf of grass is vital’.
In his most intimate prose work to date, Kinsella never shies from writing about the violence and intolerance of those scared of difference, and the ways in which his ethics have sometimes been met with disdain or outright hostility. But with nuance and humour he also celebrates rural community and its willingness to lend a hand. At once tender, urgent and intelligent, Displaced is ultimately a call to personal action. ‘We all have choices to make.’ It argues through it vivid accounts of small acts of living for the values of pacifism, veganism, environmentalism and justice for First Nations peoples – the principles we just might need to heal our world.