In the Country of Women: A Memoir


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In the Country of Women: A Memoir

Bewertung: 3 von 5 Sternen3/5 (10 Bewertungen)
Länge: 393 Seiten6 Stunden


A memoir about race—women who are African-descended, French and Swiss, indigenous and immigrant, whose fathers are a mystery, and how mixed-race people continue to shape this nation, as they always have. In the Country of Women follows six generations of women in Susan Straight's family, including Fine, daughter of an enslaved woman who died just after the Civil War; Daisy, whose mother was murdered in Mississippi; Ruby, Susan’s paternal grandmother, whose life ended in the Colorado Rockies before Susan was born; her own mother, Gabrielle, and her immigration from the Swiss Alps to Canada to California; Susan's life and those of her three daughters, all descendants of fierce, resilient women. The book is also a memoir of migration and memory and murder, mothers and daughters and sisters, an odyssey of heroic journeys west, always west, made by women, toward the homes they fashioned in California. It’s also about family, tenacity, and love. Straight offers thoughtful and exhaustively researched stories and mini-biographies of five generations of women, and paints a portrait (one part intimate revisionist history, one part Homeric feminist epic) of a nation forged and families sustained through the decisions, struggles, and movements of its women: “They survived passages that would have made a lot of men quit. Sometimes the men did quit. Sometimes the women quit the men—to stay alive.” Susan Straight can write, and her evocative sentences and storytelling beg to be read aloud. She brings alive a California that readers have not encountered in Joan Didion or Eve Babitz. Straight’s California is working-class, immigrant-rich, Native and Mexican and Japanese American, and often held together by the single family unit where mothers work and fathers have left long ago. But like Didion, Straight values letters and literature, and both helped her to survive and sustain empathy. In the Country of Women is a welcome portrait of interracial, working-class America; while often unseen, the fastest-growing segment of the U.S. population has identified as mixed race, and Susan Straight offers a moving and accessible story of her family, mapping her mixed-race daughters' ancestry through the lives of the women who came before them. Yet this is no Pollyanna tale or postracial fantasy; the families in this memoir are not immune to racism, sexual violence, or socioeconomic struggles. But in spite of these hurdles, and in an attempt to overcome them, Straight's relatives champion a fierce love focused on the survival and care of kin and community, which is a universal concern unbound by race or class. In the Country of Women is an unconventional love letter to Straight's three mixed-race daughters, the “future of America”; she maps the love (and loss) from which they came. James Baldwin was Susan Straight’s teacher at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and he was the one who urged her to write about her life and her husband’s life. In The Country of Women is also the story of how books can change lives, change socioeconomic status, change and engender empathy.

Bookseller Praise for In The Country of Women

"How did you get here? How many people traveled how many miles, to meet and marry and have the children that then moved about to meet and marry and have children, and on and on until you were born? In the Country of Women is an incredible, informative, and moving memoir that takes us on several journeys. Going back and forth, author Susan Straight takes the reader between her own story—meeting and falling in love with her husband and having children with him—and the epic journeys and lifetimes of all of the amazing and resilient women on both sides of the family. Gripping and thought provoking, Susan Straight discusses race, and sex, and love and loss, leaving you thinking hard about all these things long after you have put the boo
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