The Pulling by Adele Dumont

The Pulling by Adele Dumont

When I've been overtaken, I have stood and watched the water in my porridge simmer away into the air, and then the oats turn black and crackle with dryness, and my ears fill with the smoke alarm's shriek.

When Adele Dumont is diagnosed with trichotillomania " compulsive hair-pulling " it makes sense of much of her life to date. The seemingly harmless quirk of her late teens, which rapidly developed into almost uncontrollable urges and then into trance-like episodes, is a hallmark of the disease, as is the secrecy with which she guarded her condition from her family, friends, and the world at large.


The diagnosis also opens up a rich line of inquiry. Where might the origins of this condition be found? How can we distinguish between a nervous habit and a compulsion? And how do we balance the relief of being 'seen' by others with our experience of shame?


The Pulling is a fascinating exploration of the inner workings of a mind. In perfectly judged prose, both probing and affecting, Dumont illuminates how easily ritual can slide into obsession, and how close beneath the surface horror and darkness can lie.


Adele Dumont is an Australian writer and critic. Her work has appeared in Griffith Review, Meanjin, Southerly, ABR, and Sydney Review of Books. Adele's first book, No Man is an Island, is an account of her experiences teaching English to asylum seekers in detention. Adele lives in Sydney, where she works as an English language teacher and examiner. When she needs a break from text and from screens, she enjoys baking, bushwalking, and eavesdropping.


The Pulling

by Adele Dumont

Scribe Publications

RRP: $29.99

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