When Women Were Birds: Fifty-four Variations on Voice
The beloved author of Refuge returns with a work that explodes and startles, illuminates and celebratesTerry Tempest Williams’s mother told her: “I am leaving you all my journals, but you must promise me you won’t look at them until after I’m gone.”Readers of Williams’s iconic and unconventional... show more
The beloved author of Refuge returns with a work that explodes and startles, illuminates and celebratesTerry Tempest Williams’s mother told her: “I am leaving you all my journals, but you must promise me you won’t look at them until after I’m gone.”Readers of Williams’s iconic and unconventional memoir, Refuge, well remember that mother. She was one of a large Mormon clan in northern Utah who developed cancer as a result of the nuclear testing in nearby Nevada. It was a shock to Williams to discover that her mother had kept journals. But not as much of a shock as what she found when the time came to read them. “They were exactly where she said they would be: three shelves of beautiful cloth-bound books . . . I opened the first journal. It was empty. I opened the second journal. It was empty. I opened the third. It too was empty . . . Shelf after shelf after shelf, all of my mother’s journals were blank.” What did Williams’s mother mean by that? In fifty-four chapters that unfold like a series of yoga poses, each with its own logic and beauty, Williams creates a lyrical and caring meditation of the mystery of her mother's journals. When Women Were Birds is a kaleidoscope that keeps turning around the question “What does it mean to have a voice?” Note: blank pages are intentional.
Pages no: 208
Edition language: English
, Book Club
, Biography Memoir
Around the World Reading Challenge Item #14: A Book with One of the Five Ws or H in the TitleThis is one of those books that is hard to review.It's an "unconventional memoir," a collection of short reflections and memories that are instigated by Williams' mother bequeathing her journals to her befor...
If it hadn't been picked for August by the book club, I would never have read Terry Tempest Williams' When Women Were Birds. The memoir is poetry masquerading as prose. I felt lost during most of it, to be honest. I'm not used to diving that deeply into a real person's psyche... Read the rest of m...
When I first heard of the story that inspired this novel, I was impressed. Terry Tempest Williams' mother died of cancer and left her diaries to Williams only to be read after she died. When Williams opened the diaries, she found her mother's years of blank notebooks. The blankness of the notebooks ...