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.
Not seeing something, not seeing an indication of
something, does not lead automatically to the conclusion
that there is nothing.
Hans Blix, The Guardian, June 2003
Unbeknownst to my family, my physician, or the motor vehicle
branch, by the age of seventeen, I was going blind behind the wheel of my
father's 1982 Pontiac Acadian. Feel free to shudder. Other soon-to-be-blind
people are on the road today enjoying a similar story, only they've still got
some damage to do. Maybe you'll meet one of them at an intersection.
Driving beckoned me the moment I turned sixteen, but my parents thought I'd benefit first from a driver's education course. Or two. Maybe three. I was that hopeless. Not much of what I learned remains in my brain, but I do remember my teacher, a greasy-haired man who insisted I call him Buddy.
For several months, Buddy picked me up once a week in his school's red Ford Taurus. The car was equipped with an extra brake on ...
A wickedly funny, occasionally angry, book that is likely to give you a totally different perspective on disabilities in general, and blindness in particular.
(Reviewed by BookBrowse Review Team).
Full Review (426 words).
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 ...
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