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About the book
  • Published: 7 September 2001
  • ISBN: 9781740510707
  • Imprint: Vintage Australia
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 432
  • RRP: $26.99

Eating the Underworld




An extraordinary personal journey through cancer and treatment.

An extraordinary personal journey through cancer and treatment.

"...Extraordinary...Its bravery, irony, humour and intelligence - everything shines through the transparent prose...a remarkable literary voice, or melding of three voices--the autobiographical, the poetic, and the allegorical." - Dr. Oliver Sacks

"The life of an individual is as complex as a maze of reflecting mirrors. The life of a family is even more so." Doris Brett is an award-winning writer and poet. 'I forget who said that the prospect of impending death concentrates the mind wonderfully . . . clarifying is the word I keep thinking of. But this is not the clarifying of a mist gently evaporating to reveal answers. This is the clarifying of paint-stripper; a solvent that stings and burns with its harshness, but reveals what was truly there all the time.'

When Doris Brett was diagnosed with cancer several years ago, she began writing a private journal - a traveller's diary through a life-threatening illness. The journal, however, rapidly grew into something much more than that. Cancer became the catalyst for an inner journey - a journey through self. Evocatively told via three voices - the diarist, the poet, and the voice of fairytale and myth - this memoir explores the intricate dynamics of family, truth and memory.

Poignant and compelling, Eating the Underworld is a sharply observed, often unexpectedly funny book about change, transformation and the constant renewal of self throughout our lives. 'As with any descent into a feared and terrifying country - whether it is the country of illness or the country of a grieving heart - we have entered the underworld. And we have eaten of its fruit . . . the knowledge of ourselves, the knowledge of others. We cannot remain unchanged.

  • Pub date: 7 September 2001
  • ISBN: 9781740510707
  • Imprint: Vintage Australia
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 432
  • RRP: $26.99

About the Author

Doris Brett

Doris Brett resides in Melbourne with her husband and daughter. She is a clinical psychologist as well as a multi-award winning author and poet. She has been published in America, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Poland and Russia. She has been awarded numerous literary awards for her poetry, including the Queensland Premier's Poetry Award. In The Constellation of the Crab a collection of poems that arose out of her experience with ovarian cancer was short-listed for the National Book Council Poetry Prize.


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