Girl in the Mirror CL

Natasha Anastasia Tarpley, Author Beacon Press (MA) $22 (176p) ISBN 978-0-8070-7202-8
In this lyrical and strongly imaginative memoir, Tarpley (Testimony) calls on the voices of her family--especially her mother, Marlene, and her grandmother, Anna--in ""a search not only for who I am to become, but also for who I have been."" In the first person, she recounts Anna's marriage to Jack, the gulf of loneliness she experiences when he leaves their home in Alabama for Chicago and Anna's own journey to be with him there in 1942. In Marlene's voice, Tarpley explores childhood, marriage to an alcoholic and a plane flight to Anna's deathbed. Finally, Tarpley claims her own voice, speaking of her girlhood, her trip to Africa to find grounding and her rich relationships with her mother and her grandmother. The author's skill at capturing these women's distinct voices is impressive, even if her own memories are less compellingly told. The legacy of love and abandonment, and the force of spirit that these family members share, shines abundantly and gorgeously through Tarpley's accomplished writing. Her narrative skill makes this short, experimental memoir a moving, thought-provoking meditation on the African American family and the genealogy of self. (June)
Reviewed on: 06/01/1998
Release date: 06/01/1998
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