After Michelle Tom's house was damaged by a deadly magnitude 6.3 earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand, in 2011, she and her young family suffered through another 10,000 aftershocks before finally relocating to the stability of Melbourne, Australia.
But soon after arriving, Michelle received the news that her estranged sister was dying. Determined to reconnect before her sister died, Michelle flew home to visit, and memories of childhood flooded back.
Told through the five stages of an earthquake via remembered fragments, Michelle Tom explores the similarities between seismic upheaval and her own family's tragedies: her sister's terminal illness, her brother's struggle with schizophrenia and ultimate suicide, the sudden death of her father, her own panic disorder and, through it all, one overarching battle – her lifelong struggle to form a healthy connection with her mother.
A powerful, poetic and moving memoir of family, violence and estrangement, Ten Thousand Aftershocks weaves together a series of ever-widening and far-reaching emotional and seismic aftershocks, in a beautifully written and compelling account of a dark family drama. For readers of The Erratics and One Hundred Years of Dirt.
'Emotionally visceral ... both destabilising and alluring ... Tom's use of language is so deft.' The Sunday Age
'A compelling narrative' The Saturday Paper
'An intricately structured memoir weaving the Christchurch earthquakes with the lifelong effects of family trauma and mental illness, Ten Thousand Aftershocks is brave, eloquent and suspenseful.' Louisa Deasey, A Letter from Paris
About The Author
Michelle Tom began her writing career as a print journalist in her native New Zealand.
A chapter from Ten Thousand Aftershocks placed second in the Writers Victoria Marion Grace Wilson Emerging Writers Competition (nonfiction section) in 2019 and appeared in the November issue of The Victorian Writer. Michelle was selected for the ACT Writers Centre HARDCOPY 2019 nonfiction program and was one of five writers chosen for a week-long Varuna Memoir Masterclass with Patti Miller in 2017.
Michelle lives in Melbourne with her husband and two youngest children.