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.
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Published by Random House Australia 2001.
Praise for Eating the Underworld
“. . . 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
“. . . Involving, engaging, moving and amusing. It is the tone of a reporter tackling a tough assignment with grace and style. . . Although many of the lessons she distills so unsentimentally and inventively are sorrowful, the impression the reader takes away is of invigoration ‘the circles, ever-present, opening and closing in our lives, taking us to where we don’t know we want to go; returning us to what we can only now see.'” – Cath Kenneally – The Australian
“This is a compelling book, beautifully written, suffused with warmth and wit, vibrant in the face of possible death and urgent with the force of its hard-won wisdom.” – Debra Adelaide – Sydney Morning Herald
“. . . For my money, however, the most insightful book on transformational themes in fairy tales comes from Doris Brett, an award–winning poet and clinical psychologist in Australia. Eating the Underworld is an extraordinary book written during Brett’s long battle with cancer, weaving fairy tales and myths into sharply insightful meditations on family, culture, memory, death, heroism, and survival.” – Terri Windling ‘Old Wives Tales: Fairy Tale Art and Literature’
“It’s a fascinating work – Brett writes beautifully and richly about her own emotional and physical experiences. . . It was an inspiring book, about a woman who managed to reap great rewards from a terrible experience. It almost makes you believe that you would approach such hardship in a similar way. Very much recommended . . . ” – The Voracious Reader