Fierce attachments: a memoir

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9780860689461: Fierce attachments: a memoir

The author recounts her childhood experiences living in a tenement, looks at her relationship with her mother, and describes the lives of women bound to husbands they didn't love

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Review:

Rarely is the barbed edge of mother love described with such scorching wit and raw emotion as it is in Vivian Gornick's reissued memoir. Fierce Attachments zigzags between a Bronx tenement teeming with immigrants in the 1940s and New York in the 1980s. It chronicles an almighty struggle between the author and her mother, a stubborn rabble-rouser bursting with tart, angry pronouncements, moxie, and an undeniable measure of charm. Waving away an "Eastern religionist" trying to sell her on his god, she raps out: "Young man, I am a Jew and a socialist. I think that's more than enough for one lifetime, don't you?" Her husband's untimely death is the occasion for such wild histrionics--screaming, refusing to walk, flinging herself into the grave--that when Gornick works the Middle East years later as a journalist, the ululating cries and fainting mourners at funerals seem comfortably familiar. The rapid-fire flow of confidences and furious arguments between the duo mellow slightly, believably, as they grow older together.

About the Author:

Vivian Gornick, "one of the most vital and indispensable essayists of our cultural moment" (Phillip Lopate), has written for The New York Times, The Village Voice, and other journals.

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