Male abuse

A love letter to San Francisco’s mean streets

Recollections of My Non-Existence is the Rebecca Solnit book I have been waiting for. I was born four years after the American writer, and on the same continent, and much of what she describes in Recollections feels very familiar: the flamboyant gay scene of the 1980s, swiftly followed by the devastation of the Aids epidemic, the navigation through second-wave feminism, the men who constantly told us ‘what to do and be’ while they scrutinised our bodies. When Solnit was young, ‘nearly everyone who held power and made news was male’. I was fist-pumping by the time I got to: ‘We were trained to please men, and that made it hard

Male violence pulses through Evie Wyld’s The Bass Rock

‘It’s a woman’s thing, creation,’ says Sarah,a girl accused of witchcraft in 18th-century Scotland, in one of the three storylines in Evie Wyld’s powerful new novel. Sarah is pregnant, having been raped and nearly killed. She is looking at a piece of sacking sewn by a sister and mother, and continues: ‘You can see how they felt in each stitch, you can hear the words they spoke to each other and into the cloth.’ The Bass Rock is in many ways an amplification of these words spoken into the cloth, a feminine counterforce to the masculine violence that pulses viscerally throughout. Stitched around Sarah’s story are Viv’s contemporary thread, and