Published:5 May 2023 "We need more writers with bite. We have lived in the flatlands too long," writes John Barnie in one of his 'observations' ('Art in the Flatlands'). And bite he delivers. Ranging across politics, history, culture, ecological disaster, the meaning of truth, poetry, what we mean by identity and more... Barnie shares a window onto the world that is both erudite and particular. Leaning towards pessimism in a darkening world, these observations are often provocative, not from any bullish desire to antagonise, but as the result of mining a rationalist line of thought with an honesty and consistency that is applied as much to the author as to his subjects. There is a clarity here that some may find uncomfortable, but the aim is always dialogue above agreement; intellectual engagement above cheap solutions and sentimentality. Barnie asks us to think, consider and dig deeper, but most of all he asks that we "...live richly among our secondary self-created meanings, while recognising them for what they are. To face without flinching the nullity of the great void." Tsunami Days is a vital collection of essays for those prepared to engage with its unflinching observations.