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The Trauma Cleaner

The Trauma Cleaner: One Woman’s Extraordinary Life in Death, Decay & Disaster

Sarah Krasnostein

Before she was a trauma cleaner, Sandra Pankhurst was many things: husband and father, drag queen, gender reassignment patient, sex worker, small businesswoman, trophy wife…

But as a little boy, raised in violence and excluded from the family home, she just wanted to belong. Now she believes her clients deserve no less.

A woman who sleeps among garbage she has not put out for forty years. A man who bled quietly to death in his loungeroom. A woman who lives with rats, random debris and terrified delusion. The still life of a home vacated by accidental overdose.

Sarah Krasnostein has watched the extraordinary Sandra Pankhurst bring order and care to these, the living and the dead—and the book she has written is equally extraordinary. Not just the compelling story of a fascinating life among lives of desperation, but an affirmation that, as isolated as we may feel, we are all in this together.




Read an extract in the Australian

INTERVIEWS

Guardian
ABC Radio, Afternoons (1:38:00)
NZ Radio, Saturday Morning
Nova 100, Chrissie, Sam & Browny

REVIEWS

Readings Blog
Saturday Paper
Kill Your Darlings

Upcoming events for Sarah Krasnostein
Sarah Krasnostein
About the Author

Sarah Krasnostein was born in America, studied in Melbourne and has lived and worked in both countries. Earning her doctorate in criminal law, she is a law lecturer and researcher. Her essay, ‘The Secret Life of a Crime Scene Cleaner’, was published on Longreads and listed in Narratively’s Top 10 Stories for 2014. She lives in Melbourne, and...

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Extent:
272pp
Format:
Paperback
Text publication date:
2 October 2017
ISBN:
9781925498523
AU Price:
$32.99
NZ Price:
$38.00
Categories:
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Praise for Sarah Krasnostein
andThe Trauma Cleaner

‘Written with sensitivity, insight and warmth…Krasnostein has pieced together a compelling history through careful research and interviews. The Trauma Cleaner is no ordinary trauma narrative: we see how the infliction of multiple traumas has left this fascinating woman uniquely placed to restore order among the despair of others, and it is with similar care that Krasnostein has produced this book.’

‘Amazing…I couldn’t put this book down, and I can’t wait to recommend it to everyone I know.’

‘Superbly sensitive…A truly unusual biography which is both confronting and edifying.’

‘An extraordinary life story superbly retold.’

‘A truly remarkable story.’

‘The most original non-fiction book of the year…Written with warmth, humour and sensitivity, The Trauma Cleaner is utterly fascinating.’

‘Krasnostein’s playful yet heartfelt debut is one of the most arresting works of biography you will read in a long time.’

‘Krasnostein is an astute observer of human nature and her understated yet elegant prose is reminiscent of Helen Garner.’

’Krasnostein has done a clean-up of her own, untangling the narrative behind Pankhurst’s own cluttered memories…She lets Pankhurst’s courage, humanity and sheer decency shine through. It’s a fascinating read.’

‘Surely the most original non-fiction book of the year…Written with warmth, humour and sensitivity, The Trauma Cleaner is utterly fascinating.’

‘A wondrous portrait of an inspiring character.’

‘Sandra Pankurst’s life is a Netflix series waiting to happen…Krasnostein is a marvelous, sympathetic observer and narrator…Love, love, love this book.’

‘[Sandra] is one of the most extraordinary characters you will ever find in a work of non-fiction…The Trauma Cleaner is a disturbing and fascinating read with a heavy, beating heart at its centre…[Krasnostein] shows how a writer can empathise and engage with a subject yet still paint a realistic portrait.’

‘[Pankurst’s] story is probably one of the most touching, thoughtful and thought-provoking you will ever read…Sarah Krasnostein tells it with moving compassion, even love.’

‘An anomalous, indelible treasure…Krasnostein allows Sandra’s story room to breathe and expand, to quietly but confidently stake its claim to the reader’s heart.’

Other editions ofThe Trauma Cleaner
  • The Trauma Cleaner
    ebook
    ISBN: 9781925410761
    2 October 2017
    Buy ebook