David Annand

Marine Life

The Volunteer

By

Jonathan Cape 432pp £16.99 order from our bookshop

There’s a doubleness to the act of volunteering. On the face of it, by freely offering to do something you’re acting as an autonomous agent. But in practice, the act of volunteering is very often a response to something beyond your control: the poverty that necessitates charity, the global conflicts that demand recruits, and so on. To volunteer is to act in a way that both affirms the self and also confirms its insignificance.

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