Accident by Dawn Garisch
02 May 2017
Carol Trehorne’s only child, Max, is in ICU with severe burns. Max, a performance artist, has set himself alight. He recovers but it becomes clear that he is planning further performances that will put him at risk of serious injury or death. Carol, a single parent and a GP in a busy suburban practice, is worried that her son is not the genius his friends think he is, but might be on drugs or going psychotic.
As she discusses her concerns with her son’s psychiatrist, she wonders if her past behaviour, in particular her relationship with the adventurous and anti-social Jack, has influenced Max’s determination to use his body as a site of violent art in the pursuit of revelation. Carol cannot accept that Max’s self-harm will have any effect other than to add to the meaningless violence in the world.
The novel Accident raises questions about what kind of life is worth living and what death is worth dying. It explores the different responses artists and scientists can have to violence and self-destructive behaviour, and throws into sharp relief the difficulties parents face when their children make decisions that appear incomprehensible.
About the author
Accident is Dawn Garisch’s sixth published novel, she has also had a collection of poetry, a non-fiction work and a memoir published. Her short stories and poetry have appeared in anthologies, journals and magazines. She has had a short play and short film produced, and has written for television and newspapers. Three of her novels have been published in the UK.
In 2007 her poem “Blood Delta” was awarded the DALRO prize. In 2010 her novel, Trespass was short-listed for the Commonwealth prize for fiction in Africa, and in 2011 her poem “Miracle” won the EU Sol Plaatjie Poetry Award. In 2013 her short story “What To Do About Ricky” won the NAF funded Short.Sharp.Story competition.
She is interested in trans-disciplinary work in science and art, and between different art forms. She teaches life writing and creative method courses, is a practising medical doctor and lives in Cape Town.