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  • Published: 1 December 2010
  • ISBN: 9781869790899
  • Imprint: RHNZ Adult ebooks
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 208

A Perfect World

A Father's Quest to Unravel the Mysteries of Autism



A father explores his son’s autism, and delivers a hopeful message

A father explores his son’s autism, and delivers a hopeful message.
A Perfect World is a unique international survey, drawing on scores of lengthy interviews conducted over four years, as well as being a moving family memoir. It offers new insights on the diagnosis of autism, intervention therapy, research and special-needs learning. It is a story that will appeal to parents, teachers, community workers, health specialists and fans of travel writing alike.

"With remarkable erudition and literary elegance, David Cohen, the father of an autistic boy named Eliot, has crafted an extraordinary account of autism in his own family, and in the world. In this engaging and honest book, Cohen shows autism in all its vicissitudes ­ in England, New Zealand, Korea, the US and Israel.

A gifted writer, Cohen moves so gracefully across narratives, scientific discourses, artistic genres, historical periods and continents that you hardly notice the full force of his prose until the conclusion when, suddenly, it hits you: Cohen has made us see autism as an essential part of the human condition." Professor Roy Richard Grinker, author of Unstrange Minds: Remapping the World of Autism, Professor of Anthropology at George Washington University, USA

  • Published: 1 December 2010
  • ISBN: 9781869790899
  • Imprint: RHNZ Adult ebooks
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 208

About the author

David Cohen

David Cohen is a Wellington-based writer and journalist whose work has appeared frequently in publications in New Zealand and abroad. An anthology, Greatest Hits: A Quarter Century of Journalistic Encounters, Cultural Fulminations and Notes on Lost Cities, was published in 2014. The English writer Julie Burchill hailed the collection as 'a brilliant album'. The New Zealand Herald described it as 'fearless'.
Cohen's experience as a food critic and his longstanding interest in Jewish subjects (he contributed a chapter to Jewish Lives In New Zealand published by Godwit) led him to collaborate with the Auckland restaurateur Yael Shochat on Ima Cuisine: An Israeli Mother’s Kitchen (2016).
Cohen’s work has often been prompted by personal experiences and circumstances. A Perfect World is a combined family memoir and investigative journalism on the subject of autism, based on his experience as the father of an autistic son; while Little Criminals uses Epuni Boys' Home as a basis to study New Zealand’s now-scandalous residential juvenile criminal system of the 1950s to 1980s. The book would provide the basis for a documentary of the same name.
Roy Richard Grinker, a professor of anthropology at George Washington University and the author of Unstrange Minds: Remapping the World of Autism, has praised Cohen for his ‘erudition and literary elegance’, calling him a ‘gifted writer’ who ‘moves so gracefully across narratives, scientific discourses, artistic genres, historical periods and continents that you hardly notice the full force of his prose until the conclusion when, suddenly, it hits you: Cohen has made us see autism as an essential part of the human condition.’
Man Booker Prize short lister Lloyd Jones wrote of Little Criminals: ‘David Cohen has taken an important piece of social history and unpacked it in a highly imaginative way. It is completely engrossing.’

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