SPEAK TO ME: Grief, Love and What Endures

Marcie Hershman, Author SPEAK TO ME: Grief, Love and What Endures

Riffing on the gay pride slogan "silence = death," Hershman proclaims, "The times demand that I not stay quiet." Her supple distinctions between "voice" as an aural phenomenon, as a transcendental revelation, as a literary temperament and as a political act form "foreground and background" to her 10 intricately patterned meditations on her grief over the AIDS-related death of her brother Robert Hershman, a documentary television producer for The MacNeil-Lehrer Report and 48 Hours. "Robert and I were close because we shared certain sensibilities. We loved those of our own gender. We loved learning. We gave ourselves up to the worded silences, in study, in prayer." In this keenly observed narrative, she draws upon science, philosophy, spirituality, personal and cultural history, and recollections of individual family members, finding resonance in ordinary objects and situations and in unexpected connections: a discussion of her tape recording of her immigrant grandmother's stories dovetails eloquently with her description of watching a videotape of Robert's ordination as a maggid—a storyteller and teacher in mystical Jewish practices—even as his health declines. Richly nuanced, heightened by its brevity, Hershman's prose compels the reader forward, garnering trust in her perceptions, even in the penultimate chapter when Hershman steers into enigmatic metaphysical precincts. Readers open to Hershman's account of negotiating her brother's visitations in two separate dreams will find a wise, lyrical and deeply moving auscultation of a mourning heart and its possibilities for solace. (Apr. 18)

Reviewed on: 02/19/2001
Release date: 04/01/2001
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 118 pages - 978-0-8070-2815-5
Ebook - 117 pages - 978-0-8070-2810-0
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