Michael Lapsley’s memoir

In 1990, Fr Michael Lapsley, an Anglican priest and monastic from New Zealand, exiled to Zimbabwe because of his anti-apartheid work in South Africa, opened a package and was immediately struck by the blast of an explosion. The bomb– suspected to be the work of the apartheid-era South African secret police – blasted away both his hands and one of his eyes. His memoir tells the story of this horrendous event, backing up to recount the journey that led him there – particularly his rising awareness of the radical social implications of the gospel and his identification with the liberation struggle – and then the subsequent journey of the last two decades. Returning to South Africa, Lapsley saw a whole nation damaged by the apartheid era. So he discovered his new vocation – to become a wounded healer, drawing on his own experience to promote the healing of other victims of violence and trauma.

“Reading Michael Lapsley’s book I not only respect, as I always have, the religious faith of others, I stand before his in deeply grateful recognition of the great achievement it has brought about in his conquest of unspeakably brutal conditions … A uniquely alive, wonderful narrative.”

Nadine Gordimer, Nobel Laureate for Literature

“This story will inspire suffering people across the globe who long for freedom and hope.”

Helen Clark, Prime Minister of New Zealand (1999-2008)

“The Church often thinks it knows what the world wants from it – inspiration, ‘leadership’, clear teaching. But surely what the world is most hungry for is the simple knowledge that healing is possible – not by forgetting  or minimising outrages and sufferings but by sheer, obstinate, costly commitment to work with the grain of grace. This is what Dr Michael has demonstrated in so many contexts across the globe, and this book is a wonderful testament to what the gospel can make happen.

Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury (2003-2012)

Father Michael Lapsley’s memoir is a memorable story rich with spellbinding detail, but it is its rendering with grace and empathy that makes this book such an extraordinary masterpiece.” 

Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela, member of South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission and author of ‘A Human Being Died that Night’