I couldn’t put this book down. That is the first thing to say about Adrienne Brodeur’s memoir. I was stunned by the way she wove themes of loss, isolation, and guilt throughout the story of the life here, and how at each turn in the narrative the appearance, function, and operation of those feelings made absolute sense. Mother-daughter tales are always a draw, but the events of this memoir absorb one in a unique way. You learn about the narrator and you cluck-cluck at her adolescent mistakes of judgment (if that’s what they are, as in they were generated by her fervent love for her complicated and beautiful mother); you grow up with her and her inner anguish; you break away with relief and happiness for her. You wish you had her necklace, which is a character in the book, I think. I loved the iteration of the importance of having one’s own desire here. The writing is beautifully lucid and inviting. I recommend this book HIGHLY to anyone interested in the memoir genre.
#memoir #writing #desire #character #necklace #anguish #mother #love #adolescent #loss #isolation #guilt #mothers and daughters #wild game #Adrienne Brodeur #lover
Africaville is, to put it briefly, stunning. It took me some time to grasp the reasons for the diffuseness of the book’s events, characters, and topography. Frankly, names and places seemed to be jostling, crowding one another too closely, sending things out of focus.
After reading more, though, and noting the peripatetic lives of so many characters in the community — living or dead — I began to realize that the mode is the matter. The diffuseness of the telling gestures at the displacement and movements of the African diaspora, with corners and nooks of the world of Africaville and its residents left in gray shadows such as those an incomplete and un-sutured people’s history and memory create. How else does one talk about what happened to the African diaspora, and what continues to happen today in penitentiaries and purgatories in North America? Last but not least, the delineation of women characters in the book was outstanding, and Zera Platt was someone I got to know and like as if she were a foremother I hope I’ve had.
Don’t know why but I’ve been writing and editing pieces of work and my head has suddenly filled with an image poem. Something I saw. Something I loved. Something I took a photograph so I can go back there any time.
Vancouver, Coal Harbor, on a crystalline January evening.
And wanting to share my joy in that image I created a dress and a skirt on redbubble from my memories. Holler if you like them!