“Illusory security… robs us of being human.” ~ Eve Ensler
From Publishers Weekly
“I am worried about this word, this notion—security,” writes the renowned author of The Vagina Monologues at the beginning of this extraordinarily compelling, if somewhat scattered, memoir; “Why has all of this focus on security made me feel so much more insecure?”
Ensler recounts her attempts to make sense of a war-ridden world in which “security” becomes both unimaginable and dangerous.
Weaving together personal history (about her childhood relationship with her father, who would choke her in drunken rages and not remember the next morning), with a panoply of violent political scenarios around the world: the Serbs’ use of rape to subdue Muslims in Bosnia; the public execution of women in an Afghan stadium; the unsolved brutal murders of more than 370 women in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. Ensler aims to explicate the moments when we, often unwittingly, implicate ourselves in this violence through our need for an illusory “security.”
Ensler has a vivid, startling style that is both direct and poetic, and she is able to make chilling connections—she writes that the dust that covered New York on 9/11 was the dust that she had seen “in Kabul, in Bosnia, in Kosovo.” This is an important work by a major American writer. (Oct. 3)
Eve Ensler, most famous for The Vagina Monologues (1998), has audaciously confronted misogyny and violence against women not only as a playwright and a performer but also as the founder of V-Day, an international philanthropic organization. Ensler now proves to be as galvanizing an oral historian and essayist as she is a dramatist in this forthright inquiry into our obsession with security both personal and national.
Forging a potent brew of candid memoir and hard-hitting reportage, she considers the harsh reality that security is nothing more than an illusion, and that, perversely, the pursuit of security actually increases threats against our well-being. Ensler discovered the myth of security as a girl, when she endured horrific abuse from her alcoholic father within the precincts of a seemingly safe middle-class home.
Ensler has subsequently sought out sister survivors, and recounts with lucidity, empathy, and respect her conversations with Bosnian rape victims, Afghani women tyrannized by the Taliban, women prisoners, and mothers of some of the hundreds of young women killed in Cuidad Juarez, the hellish factory zone south of El Paso. Keenly aware of how catastrophes undermine our sense of security, Ensler also writes incisively about 9/11 and the aftermath of Katrina.
Through carefully listening and clarion analysis, Ensler reaches the conclusion that grasping for security isolates us and denies opportunities for dialogue, hope, and change. We’re told that war is necessary to ensure security, Ensler muses, “when really it is kindness we are after.” ~ Donna Seaman
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