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Heart Berries: A Memoir (Hardcover)

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Staff Reviews

There have been times in my life when I’ve thought that nothing could possibly make me feel any better, any less alone, any less like the world is caving in. As I write this, I am just coming out of one of those moments, or at least learning how to deal with it. I am full of grief, and full of rage, but I am also full of this book. This little book, this little companion of love and hurt and healing that feels like coming back to life. This is a memoir in raw, naked, necessary essays, but it is also a light, cutting through the dark. As Roxane Gay put it, “These essays are too intimate, too absorbing, too beautifully written, but never ever too much.” I hope this book finds you at just the right moment.

"My relationship with you felt integral. Many things were infinitesimal. Combined, there's a whole thing I can't bear. I needed you."

— From Claire

February 2018 Indie Next List

“In a time of memoirs that help a reader understand vulnerability and the experience of facing down fear, Terese Marie Mailhot's cathartic, moving Heart Berries is one of the bravest and most fearless of such books. Her coming-of-age on a First Nation reservation, Seabird Island in Canada, is particular to that vividly evoked place, but also carries larger, universal lessons for the human spirit and its survival. A necessary book.”
— Rick Simonson, The Elliott Bay Book Company, Seattle, WA


Selected by Emma Watson as the Our Shared Shelf Book Club Pick for March/April 2018
A New York Times Editor's Choice
A Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Selection

"A sledgehammer. . . . Her experiments with structure and language . . . are in the service of trying to find new ways to think about the past, trauma, repetition and reconciliation, which might be a way of saying a new model for the memoir." --Parul Sehgal, The New York Times

"Heart Berries by Terese Mailhot is an astounding memoir in essays. Here is a wound. Here is need, naked and unapologetic. Here is a mountain woman, towering in words great and small... What Mailhot has accomplished in this exquisite book is brilliance both raw and refined." --Roxane Gay, author of Hunger

Heart Berries is a powerful, poetic memoir of a woman's coming of age on the Seabird Island Indian Reservation in the Pacific Northwest. Having survived a profoundly dysfunctional upbringing only to find herself hospitalized and facing a dual diagnosis of post traumatic stress disorder and bipolar II disorder; Terese Marie Mailhot is given a notebook and begins to write her way out of trauma. The triumphant result is Heart Berries, a memorial for Mailhot's mother, a social worker and activist who had a thing for prisoners; a story of reconciliation with her father--an abusive drunk and a brilliant artist--who was murdered under mysterious circumstances; and an elegy on how difficult it is to love someone while dragging the long shadows of shame.

Mailhot trusts the reader to understand that memory isn't exact, but melded to imagination, pain, and what we can bring ourselves to accept. Her unique and at times unsettling voice graphically illustrates her mental state. As she writes, she discovers her own true voice, seizes control of her story, and, in so doing, reestablishes her connection to her family, to her people, and to her place in the world.

With an Introduction by Sherman Alexie.

"I am quietly reveling in the profundity of Mailhot's deliberate transgression in Heart Berries and its perfect results. I love her suspicion of words. I have always been terrified and in awe of the power of words - but Mailhot does not let them silence her in Heart Berries. She finds the purest way to say what she needs to say... T]he writing is so good it's hard not to temporarily be distracted from the content or narrative by its brilliance...Perhaps, because this author so generously allows us to be her witness, we are somehow able to see ourselves more clearly and become better witnesses to ourselves." --Emma Watson, Official March/April selection for Our Shared Shelf

Named One of the Most Anticipated Books of 2018 by:
Entertainment Weekly
Huffington Post
The Rumpus
The New York Public Library

About the Author

TERESE MARIE MAILHOT graduated from the Institute of American Indian Arts with an M.F.A. in fiction. Mailhot's work has appeared in The Rumpus, the Los Angeles Times, Carve Magazine, The Offing, The Toast, Yellow Medicine Review, and elsewhere. The recipient of several fellowships--SWAIA Discovery Fellowship, Vermont Studio Center Fellowship, Writing by Writers Fellowship, and the Elk Writer's Workshop Fellowship--she was recently named the Tecumseh Postdoctoral Fellow at Purdue University and resides in West Lafayette, Indiana.

Coverage from NPR

Product Details
ISBN: 9781619023345
ISBN-10: 1619023342
Publisher: Counterpoint LLC
Publication Date: February 6th, 2018
Pages: 160
Language: English