This irreverent, tragicomic, politically incorrect, astoundingly articulate memoir about going blindand growing upilluminates not just the author's reality, but the reader's.
On his 18th birthday, Ryan Knighton was diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP), a congenital, progressive disease marked by night-blindness, tunnel vision and, eventually, total blindness. In this penetrating, nervy memoir, which ricochets between meditation and black comedy, Knighton tells the story of his fifteen-year descent into blindness while incidentally revealing the world of the sighted in all its phenomenal peculiarity. Knighton learns to drive while unseeing; has his first significant relationshipwith a deaf woman; navigates the punk rock scene and men's washrooms; learns to use a cane; and tries to pass for seeing while teaching English to children in Korea. Stumbling literally and emotionally into darkness, into love, into couch-shopping at Ikea, into adulthood, and into truce if not acceptance of his identity as a blind man, his writerly self uses his disability to provide a window onto the human condition. His experience of blindness offers unexpected insights into sight and the other senses, culture, identity, language, our fears and fantasies. Cockeyed is not a conventional confessional. Knighton is powerful and irreverent in words and thought and impatient with the preciousness we've come to expect from books on disability. Readers will find it hard to put down this wild ride around their everyday world with a wicked, smart, blind guide at the wheel.
Ryan Knighton teaches contemporary literature and creative writing at Capilano College in Vancouver, British Columbia, and served for two years as editor of the literary magazine The Capilano Review. The author of a book of poetry and co-author of a collection of short fiction, Knighton has also published widely as a journalist and essayist. He has also produced, written and performed radio monologues and documentaries about blindness for the CBC.
The narrative is powerful and irreverent, and readers will find it impossible to put down
Those of us in the sighted world may have walked past a blind person and asked, "How, exactly, do they do it?" Knighton, a creative-writing teacher whose talent shines on every page of this feisty, bittersweet memoir, both answers that question and shrugs it off as he describes his 15-year descent into darkness… it's his penchant for disdaining pity and shame that makes this such a compelling, sturdy read. Grade A.
Starred Review....a journey that no reader should refuse, to see life through another lens.
Knighton's talent shines on every page of this feisty, bittersweet memoir... a compelling, sturdy read.
Engaging and insightful, literally shedding light on a dark and misunderstood condition.
Recent Reader Reviews
Rated of 5
by Nany Gordon I loved this book! This was a very enlightening book. The author writes about his experience going from seeing to blind as a teenager. He describes driving (something he shouldn't have been doing -- but he was still unaware of how serious his problem was) & ending... Read More
Ryan Knighton teaches contemporary
literature and creative writing at
Capilano College in Vancouver, British
Columbia, Canada. He's the author of
two books of poetry, Swing in The
Hollow (2002) and Two Bits
(2007), and co-author of a collection of
short fiction (Cars, 2002); he
has also published widely as a
journalist and essayist, and has
produced, written and performed radio
monologues and documentaries about
blindness for the CBC.
He was born in 1972, in British
Columbia, Canada and in 1995 completed a
BA Honours in English at Simon Fraser
University. After a period teaching in
Korea (hilariously and poignantly
described in Cockeyed) he
returned to Canada where he completed
his BA in 1998. Despite his rapidly
failing eyesight, Knighton was hired
just days shy...
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