Books · Read in 2021 · Reviews

Book Thoughts: On Connection (Kae Tempest)

Insightful, Impactful, Helpful


Title: On Connection
Author: Kae Tempest
Genre: Non-Fiction / Mental Health /Reflection
First published: 2020
Edition: Hardback, published by Faber & Faber in 2020

The increasingly hyper-individualistic, competitive and exploitative society that we live in has caused a global crisis at the turn of the new decade; in order to survive, numbness has pervaded us all. In this urgent and incisive pamphlet, Kae Tempest leads the reckoning against this system, placing our legacy in our own hands. Creativity holds the key: the ability to provide us with internal and external connection, to move us beyond consumption, to allow us to discover authenticity and closeness to all others, to deliver us an antidote for our numbness. This is beyond ‘art’. Creative connection is anything that brings us closer to ourselves and fellow human beings, and it has the potential to offer insights into mental health, politics and beyond.


Before I read this small non-fiction book I was aware of Kae Tempest. I have heard songs by them on the radio for years and knew they were a poet and that their lyrics often spoke harsh truths. However, the reason why I picked up this little book was not because of their celebrity, but because of the subject: connection. Creativity. Empathy. For yourself and for the world around you. It is a subject close to my heart.

Kae broaches the subjects of numbness and connection, and how creativity factors in. What even constitutes success, value, or connection, or numbness, and what exactly is being creative? Do you have to be an artist to be creative? There were passages I highlighted, because I found them very insightful and I think they would be helpful to re-read when I am feeling low or numb myself.

The only criticisms I have is that the narrative did not always feel very cohesive, and every now and then I felt I wanted a little more. Sometimes it felt like the author’s thoughts were drifting from one thing to another without actually pausing to take stock, which made it feel a little rushed in places. Maybe they were going for a stream-of-consciousness kind of feel, but here and there I would have liked it to pull back just a little, or expand a bit maybe.

I do think this is a small book that packs a punch and one that I will revisit. Objectively, I feel a little more could have been done with the subject, but I did find myself nodding along to what was being discussed.

5 out of 7 stars

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