When a child with autism is driven to the edge, it is by the accumulation of explosive stimuli to which he cannot otherwise respond. The edge to which he takes you, his family, is, at the time, where he lives. You are being taken, in a crisis, to his world – and it is extremely troubling. To cope – at the very least, cope, because this is not sustainable but just an emergency response – you have to somehow ride it out. Getting everyone out of that place, back into the world of the rational, is a distant, secondary goal.
‘The way the author writes about his son Joshua is beautiful, tender and a joy to read. Always absorbing, moving, intelligent and clear, this book puts into words so much of our experience as an autism family that I have found impossible to describe. Highly recommended to anyone trying to better understand this experience.’ – Laura Bloom, author of The Cleanskin
‘This is a book that left me as exposed and scraped raw as the writer left himself and his family. This is no bad thing, though, as the flaying was done with precision and each cut was examined mercilessly. Karpin doesn’t spare himself. The crisis at the centre of the book builds up with a novel’s narrative force, but it’s real and it happened and it’s oh so sad. There is joy, though, as well as the confronting question of how to respond well to a child’s disability, if it forces us to be bystanders to their status as a bystander.’ – Kate Evans, ABC Radio National, The Bookshelf
‘The Crisis is bold in its determination to anatomise the experiences of its author’s family for the benefit of others who face similar circumstances. In its unflinching openness and generosity, it is striking. Yet Karpin is a superb prose stylist, so this is a narrative with flair as well as urgency, compelling in its telling as well as its important tale. It is a courageous work of witness, and a work of unexpected beauty – the beauty of the grit and care of this family’s work of love, and of exquisite crafting.’ – Felicity Plunkett, poet and critic