To Babel and Back
Winner of Wales Book of the Year Award 2006.
“On the strength of this book alone, Minhinnick stakes his claim to be regarded as the finest writer working in any genre in Wales today.” Jim Perrin, The Guardian
Join Robert Minhinnick on a journey across a radioactive planet. Researching the use of depleted uranium in modern weapons, the writer follows a deadly trail from the uranium mines of the USA into Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. Here, he is led into the temples of a deserted Babylon and to what his guides insist is the site of the Tower of Babel.
Interspersed with these ‘radioactive writings’, which seem part documentary, part dream, are essays on a host of different places. Minhinnick pursues Dante through Florence, and searches for a poem given to him by a murdered schoolgirl in south Wales.
Berlin, Prague, Buenos Aires, New York, Italy, England, Finland, Canada: this globalised world is simultaneously familiar and bizarre, filled with the background noise of contemporary society yet capable of providing places and moments of utter silence. Jetlagged, culture-lagged, Minhinnick returns to his native Wales, its coastline and valleys as extraordinary as anything encountered in a Babel that might be myth or alarmingly real.