Recollections of My Non-Existence

by Rebecca Solnit


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‘Solnit taught me that activism is poetic. Her prose is as clear and galvanising as it is beautiful.
florence Welch

About this book:

In 1981, Rebecca Solnit rented a studio apartment in San Francisco that would be her home for the next twenty-five years. There, she began to come to terms with the epidemic of violence against women around her, the street harassment that unsettled her, and the authority figures that routinely disbelieved her. That violence weighed on her as she faced the task of having a voice in a society that preferred women to shut up or go away.

Set in the era of punk, of growing gay pride, of counter culture and West Coast activism, during the latter years of second wave feminism, Recollections of My Non-Existence is the foundational story of an emerging artist struggling against patriarchal violence and scorn. Recalling the experience of living with fear, which Solnit contends is the normal state of women, she considers how oppression impacts on creativity and recounts the struggle to find a voice and have it be heard. Place and the growing culture of activism liberated her, as did the magical world of literature and books.

And over time, the clamour of voices against violence to women coalesced in the current feminist upheaval, a movement in which Solnit was a widely audible participant. Here is an electric account of the pauses and gains of feminism in the past forty years; and an extraordinary portrait of an artist, by a seminal American writer.

‘This is a books that goes to dark places, but it also cherishes the people who have helped Solnit on her way … [it] is both the story of where we’ve been and a celebration of how far we’ve come.’
The Daily Telegraph

‘[Solnit] has enough experience of being young, female and poor to speak with authority about what it means to feel powerless and non-existent.’
The Observer


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