Beta
X

04Jun

Consumed by Arifa Akbar review – a sister’s story

A vivid and insightful portrait of sisterhood, art and a troubled and talented life cut short

Arifa Akbar’s memoir begins with the death of her sister from a mysterious illness. Before she died in 2016, aged 45, Fauzia had already been rushed to hospital twice, the cause of her symptoms unknown. She had complained of chest pains, shortness of breath and night sweats. Her face began to swell and her lungs became inflamed, but still doctors were clueless. Later, as her speech started to slur and her behaviour became erratic, she was put in an induced coma and subsequently had a brain haemorrhage. Eventually there was a diagnosis: she had died of tuberculosis.

Akbar was left with questions, among them: why hadn’t Fauzia been diagnosed earlier? How, in 2016, does a person contract TB? Her sister’s death also prompted a broader reflection on her life and the ways she had been failed by others. Along with telling the story of a sibling, Consumed is also a candid dissection of family with its complex bonds and rifts, and an acute portrait of grief and mental illness. “Life brought Fauzia pain,” Akbar writes.

Continue reading...

Related

Ten Steps to Nanette by Hannah Gadsby audiobook review – startling candour

The standup narrates her soul-baring work, which pushes the boundaries of comedyHannah Gadsby’s mem...

Read More >

Down and Out by Daniel Lavelle review – a howl of fury about homelessness

Lavelle weaves his own experience together with the testimony of others in this powerful memoir abou...

Read More >

On Connection by Kae Tempest audiobook review – inside the creative impulse

The performance poet narrates their first nonfiction work, mixing memoir with musings on how creativ...

Read More >

Sorrow and Bliss by Meg Mason audiobook review – Emilia Fox captures the acerbic wit

The actor brings the dark humour of Mason’s novel to life as she narrates the story of how mental i...

Read More >

The Premonitions Bureau by Sam Knight review – astonishing adventures in precognition

How the Aberfan disaster prompted one psychiatrist to launch a nationwide search for ‘seers’ who c...

Read More >

Empire of Pain by Patrick Radden Keefe audiobook review – inside America’s opioid crisis

With a calmly astonished tone, the author narrates the shocking story of how the Sackler family made...

Read More >