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Fierce Attachments by Vivian Gornick

14.95

Vivian Gornick’s Fierce Attachments—hailed by the New York Times for the renowned feminist author’s “mesmerizing, thrilling” truths within its pages—has been selected by the publication’s book critics as the #1 Best Memoir of the Past 50 Years.

In this deeply etched and haunting memoir, Vivian Gornick tells the story of her lifelong battle with her mother for independence. There have been numerous books about mother and daughter, but none has dealt with this closest of filial relations as directly or as ruthlessly. Gornick’s groundbreaking book confronts what Edna O’Brien has called “the prinicpal crux of female despair”: the unacknowledged Oedipal nature of the mother-daughter bond.

Born and raised in the Bronx, the daughter of “urban peasants,” Gornick grows up in a household dominated by her intelligent but uneducated mother’s romantic depression over the early death of her husband. Next door lives Nettie, an attractive widow whose calculating sensuality appeals greatly to Vivian. These women with their opposing models of femininity continue, well into adulthood, to affect Gornick’s struggle to find herself in love and in work.

As Gornick walks with her aged mother through the streets of New York, arguing and remembering the past, each wins the reader’s admiration: the caustic and clear-thinking daughter, for her courage and tenacity in really talking to her mother about the most basic issues of their lives, and the still powerful and intuitively-wise old woman, who again and again proves herself her daughter’s mother.

Unsparing, deeply courageous, Fierce Attachments is one of the most remarkable documents of family feeling that has been written, a classic that helped start the memoir boom and remains one of the most moving examples of the genre.

ISBN 9780374529963

SKU: 9780374529963 Categories: , ,

Description

‘Why can’t you find a nice man to be happy with?’ my mother is saying. We are walking down Ninth Avenue after a noon-hour concert at Lincoln Centre. ‘Why do you pick one schlemiel after another? Do you do this to make me miserable?’

Vivian Gornick’s relationship with her mother is difficult. At the age of forty-five, she regularly meets her mother for strolls along the streets of Manhattan. Occasionally they’ll hit a pleasant stride – fondly recalling a shared nostalgia or chuckling over a mutual disgust – but most often their walks are tinged with contempt, irritation, and rages so white hot her mother will stop strangers on the street and say, ‘This is my daughter. She hates me’.

Weaving between their tempestuous present-day jaunts and the author’s memories of the past, Gornick traces her lifelong struggle for independence from her mother – from growing up in a blue-collar tenement house in the Bronx in the 1940s, to newlywed grad student, to established journalist – only to discover the many ways in which she is (and always has been) her mother’s daughter.

Fierce Attachments is a searingly honest and intimate memoir about coming of age in a big city, and the perpetual bonds that keep us forever linked to our family.

‘The best memoir of the past fifty years.’ – New York Times

‘It’s a brilliant book, a classic of its kind, and I commend it to you.’ – Rachel Cooke, Observer

‘A fine, unflinchingly honest book… The story of an abiding, difficult love, full of grace and fire.’ – New York Times Book Review

‘One hesitates to traffic in such stock reviewer’s adjectives as “brilliant”, “an American classic”, but there are only so many words with which to say how very good this book is.’ – Washington Post

Additional information

Weight 0.4 kg
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