50 Books by 50 Women: Emma Espiner

~BOOK BLURB~, ~BOOK EXTRACT~, ~PODCAST~, Biography & Memoir, Non Fiction, 50 Books by 50 Women, Ockham NZ Book Awards, For Adult Readers, Quick Read
Dyslexia Font
Emma Espiner

Mar 01   ●  min read   ●  Penguin Books NZ

There’s a Cure for This: A Memoir By Emma Espiner ~


The striking debut memoir from award-winning doctor and writer, Emma Espiner. “I don’t know why medicine felt like coming home but, for some reason, it fits. I keep thinking about how the tohu, once awarded, can never be taken back. There are few things in life that emphatic. Better not fuck it up.”

Encompassing whānau, love, death, ’90s action movies and scarfie drinking, There’s a cure for this is Espiner’s own story, from a childhood spent shuttling between a ‘purple lesbian state house and a series of man-alone rentals’ to navigating parenthood on her own terms; from the quietly perceived inequities of her early life to hard-won revelations as a Māori medical student and junior doctor during the Covid-19 pandemic. Clear, irreverent and beautiful, this book offers a candid and moving examination of what it means to be human when it seems like nothing less than superhuman will do.

“I graduated as a doctor in 2020 and arrived into the Covid-19 pandemic with my tā moko on my arm, my hospital lanyard, my stethoscope and a purpose. We’ve had many of our illusions about our country shattered through the circuit-breaker of this deadly pandemic. We’ve had to face up to the inequities in our society — the disparities in health, the growing numbers of unhoused people, the economic devastation of jobs lost overnight and entire sections of the economy collapsing. We’ve seen that the challenges of living in New Zealand are unevenly distributed among different groups — the ability to live well determined in part by wealth, gender, ethnicity and location. Increasingly it seems imperative that we deepen our surface-level kindness into empathy as we attempt to rebuild.

From our scattered beginnings it feels like, suddenly, we have a collective traumatic experience to draw upon, which allows us to truly see each other in a way that’s been difficult in the past. A good place to start is to look back at the journeys that brought us all to these shores, and to weave that diversity into a firm foundation for our future.

We have to draw each other close, because we are all that we have.”

‘Deadly serious, darkly funny. An exploration of hurt and healing, love and loss, life and death, motherhood and medicine. Espiner’s frank account of finding her vocation as a Māori doctor is so precise it cuts bone deep. A controlled and fearless narrator of the visceral facts of our shared humanity and the various kinds of suffering science is no match for — including, at times, her own — she takes us to the heart of what tears us apart and shows us how to put ourselves back together again.’ — NOELLE McCARTHY

‘Gutsy, fierce, reflective. Dr Emma Espiner tells compelling stories about finding and then making her own path — as a modern Māori woman; a descendant, mother, friend and partner; a doctor of medicine. She does not skip over the twists and turns . . . her insights are both useful and at times provocative.’ — DR HINEMOA ELDER

Chapter titles:

  • Pepeha
  • Sweet llamas in the night
  • Return to Castle Wolfenstein
  • He was the author of his own demise
  • I am going to demonstrate empathy now
  • Please explain the gaps in your CV
  • Māori doctor
  • Colonising the coloniser
  • Don’t plant a fruit tree over your uterus
  • Tangi on State Highway 1
  • ‘E kōrero ana ahau i te reo Māori anake Māmā’
  • She had an epiphany on a beach in Northland
  • The end of the beginning
  • Practical skills for the zombie apocalypse
  • How not to sit an exam
  • Storytelling is the medicine
  • Whakawātea

Ngā Pātaka Kōrero – Auckland Libraries · We Read Auckland 2023: Dr. Emma Espiner – There's a Cure for This


Listen to We Read Auckland podcast where Alison is joined over Zoom by author Dr. Emma Espiner, discussing her poised and candid memoir, There’s a Cure for This. From quietly perceived inequities of her early life, Espiner’s stories trace her hard-won revelations as a Māori medical student and junior doctor during the Covid-19 pandemic.

There’s a Cure for This can be borrowed from Bestie collection displays in all Auckland Council libraries or requested from the Auckland Libraries catalogue. Available in multiple formats: bit.ly/3Ybo1ab