The Art of Boiling Water


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This thesis is a memoir, told in the form of a series of personal essays that examine how love and loyalty exist alongside abuse and misunderstanding in the narrator’s family. The narrator explores her own vulnerability and culpability and is sustained by her love for writing as well as her love for the natural world. Alongside the family narrative are accounts of the narrator’s exploration of wild spaces, revealing how families and ecosystems are vulnerable to contamination: just as water and soil can be polluted by toxins, or animals killed by human carelessness, so too families can be poisoned and broken by a history of physical and emotional abuse.