Wendy Moore

Liquid of Life

Nine Pints: A Journey Through the Mysterious, Miraculous World of Blood

By

Portobello Books 372pp £14.99 order from our bookshop

For Rose George, no subject is off limits. An award-winning British journalist and author, she has lifted the lid on toilets and human waste in her acclaimed book The Big Necessity, written on life as a refugee, and explored the hidden world of shipping.

Now George focuses her investigative spotlight on the subject of blood, not only looking at the history of blood transfusion and the science of blood products, but also confronting commonly unmentionable topics, such as menstruation, sanitary products and the menopause. Visiting women in Nepal who are ritually expected to sleep outside in unheated and unlit sheds for five days every month during their periods, she grapples with the literal concept of taboo: the term, she explains, probably derives from the Polynesian word tapua, for menstruation, or tabu, meaning apart.

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • 'Since Dylan’s commercial and ideological heyday, the intrusion of sociology, semiology and post-structuralist thou… ,
    • 'One of the reasons for its longevity is that it has virtually nothing to say about science and technology at all,… ,
    • 'The characters in many of these stories are trapped in the obsessive present tense of their own thoughts; in the m… ,
    • 'Libraries, for much of their existence, have embodied in microcosm many of the characteristics of the totalitarian… ,
    • 'Moss and Cynthia buy several properties through which to launder their ill-gotten gains, take lots of drugs, have… ,
    • 'Never mind the imperial cult. This is the cult of Boris. What happened to Rome?' From the LR archive:… ,
    • Thirty-two years ago this month, we published Muriel Spark's short story, 'A Playhouse Called Remarkable' Read it… ,