Aftershocks : a memoir

by Owusu, Nadia, 1981-

Format: Large Print 2021
Availability: On Order 9 copies
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Summary
"Young Nadia Owusu followed her father, a United Nations official, from Europe to Africa and back again. Just as she and her family settled into a new home, her father would tell them it was time to say their goodbyes. The instability wrought by Nadia's nomadic childhood was deepened by family secrets and fractures, both lived and inherited. Her Armenian American mother, who abandoned Nadia when she was two, would periodically reappear, only to vanish again. Her father, a Ghanaian, the great hero of her life, died when she was thirteen. After his passing, Nadia's stepmother weighed her down with a revelation that was either a bombshell secret or a lie, rife with shaming innuendo. With these and other ruptures, Nadia arrived in New York as a young woman feeling stateless, motherless, and uncertain about her future, yet eager to find her own identity. What followed, however, were periods of depression in which she struggled to hold herself and her siblings together. Aftershocks is the way she hauled herself from the wreckage of her life's perpetual quaking, the means by which she has finally come to understand that the only ground firm enough to count on is the one written into existence by her own hand. Heralding a dazzling new writer, Aftershocks joins the likes of Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight and William Styron's Darkness Visible, and does for race identity what Maggie Nelson does for gender identity in The Argonauts"--
Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "Weaving together her own personal history with that of her parents and the many countries where she was raised, Owusu, author of the chapbook So Devilish a Fire (2018), tells a story of fracture, loss, and mental illness. Owusu's Armenian American mother left the family when Owusu was two, and her Ghanaian father, whom she idolized, died when she was 13, leaving her in the often-resentful care of a Tanzanian stepmother. As an adult, Owusu experienced a mental break following a failed relationship and her stepmother's revelation that her father might have died of AIDS rather than cancer. Owusu's dispatches from the trenches of what she calls madness are brutally metaphoric, elegantly honest, and familiar to readers with similar experiences. In alternating chapters, she explores the many seismic shifts of her childhood and early adulthood, living in African nations torn apart by civil wars and a family torn apart by parental death and abandonment. Aftershocks is a stunning, visceral book about the ways that our stories--of loss, of love, of borders--leave permanent marks on our bodies and minds.Women in Focus: The 19th in 2020"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "In her enthralling memoir, Whiting Award--winner Owusu (So Devilish a Fire) assesses the impact of key events in her life via the metaphor of earthquakes. The biracial daughter of an Armenian mother and Ghanaian father, Owusu's early life was fractured by her parents' divorce and multiple moves necessitated by her father's U.N. career. Living in Rome at age seven, she was visited by her long-absent mother on the day a catastrophic quake hit Armenia, seeding an obsession with earthquakes "and the ways we try to understand the size and scale of impending disaster." She believed "an instrument in my brain"--a kind of emotional seismometer--picked up vibrations and set off protective alarms. Her shaky relationship with her stepmother Anabel, meanwhile, worsened in her teens after her father's death from cancer. College in Manhattan offered escape, but at 28 she was devastated by Anabel's claim that her father died of AIDS: "Although... Anabel was a liar... the alarm continued to sound." A subsequent breakup with a boyfriend released long-suppressed anxiety, and she spent a week sitting in a chair in her apartment--"almost like sitting in my father's lap," and it was only then that she could contemplate the complex love she, her mother, and her stepmother felt for her father. Readers will be moved by this well-wrought memoir. (Jan.)"
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Subjects Owusu, Nadia, -- 1981-
Racially mixed women -- United States -- Biography.
Racially mixed women -- Race identity -- United States.
Racially mixed people -- United States -- Biography.
Racially mixed people -- Race identity -- United States.
Large type books.
Racially mixed people.
Racially mixed people -- Race identity.
Racially mixed women.
United States.
Biographies.
Publisher Waterville, Maine :2021
Edition Large print edition.
Language English
Description pages cm
ISBN 9781432888701
1432888706
Other Classic View