Mother Death : Mere La Mort

Jeanne Hyvrard, Author, Laurie Edson, Translator University of Nebraska Press $20 (124p) ISBN 978-0-8032-2339-4
Hyvrard is a professional economist and a novelist on the order of French feminists Helene Cixous and Luce Irigaray. Like them, she inscribes the female body in her text in order to protest the tyranny of patriarchal language, whose structures enslave women by defining their roles: ``They cut entire sentences in my flesh.'' The conflict is also described as colonial, one in which women are the colonized. Set in an insane asylum, at times the story reads like a prose poem by the incarcerated woman who shares her love with Mother Death, asking to be taken back into her womb to survive. The narrator's crime is violating traditional language norms and composing a nonlinear discourse that she interweaves with an impassioned female imagery. Flowing blood, for instancea dominant imagecombines with the biblical flood, but as yet no dove has appeared. Blood, the fluid of woman's fertile body, becomes the essence of ``death and rebirth'' and the way of writing a renewed grammar: ``Blessed blood in my vulva's conjugations.'' The novel's mythic story alternates with more straightforward portions that set forth the feminist argument. The translator's notes and afterword offer useful clarifications. (July)
Reviewed on: 04/25/1988
Release date: 05/01/1988
Genre: Fiction
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