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Seeking Rapture: Scenes from a Woman's Life Paperback – June 1, 2004
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
More About the Author
Kathryn Harrison was born in 1961 in Los Angeles, California, where she was raised by her mother's parents. She is a graduate of Stanford University and the Iowa Writers Workshop, where, in 1986, she met her husband, the novelist Colin Harrison. They had a first date on Friday, April 25, and on Monday, April 28, they moved in together. The Harrisons married in 1988, and live in Brooklyn with their three children. Kathryn writes novels, memoirs, personal essays, biography, and true crime. She is a frequent reviewer for the New York Times Book Review, and teaches memoir at Hunter College's MFA program in Creative Writing, in New York City.
Top Customer Reviews
Ms. Harrison's newest book, "Seeking Rapture - Scenes From A Woman's Life" are selected stories from a life of many levels. From the abandonment of a mother, betrayal of a father, motherhood and lighter mood stories of cheating on her driver's test, Ms. Harrison's work is never boring and always effective.
"Seeking Rapture" is a wonderful collection of prose from an exceptionally talented writer who never seems to shy away from the taboo or shocking and, I really admire her for that.
In "Seeking Rapture," Harrison lays bare her soul, opens up her veins and in the process reveals a tortured relationship with her family and specifically her mother: "Mysteriously, unexpectedly, this stranger (a Christian Scientist practitioner) had ushered me into an experience I cannot help but call rapture. I felt myself separated from my flesh and from all earthly things...I had no words for what happened---I have few now, almost forty years later...I learned at aged six, that transcendence was possible: that spirit could conquer matter, and that therefore I could overcome whatever obstacles prevented my mother's loving me. I could overcome myself."
But like many who have tortured relationships with a parent, Harrison cannot help but be the dutiful daughter and when her mother becomes ill, she attends to her: "In trying to explain why she (Harrison's mother) had been so remote, my mother told me that inside herself she had discovered a fortress, assembled brick by brick by psychic brick to defend herself against my grandmother. `The problem is,' she said, starting to cry, `I don't know the way out. I'm stuck inside myself."
So much of this book is so honest and probing that you will have a hard time reading through some sections without wincing at the truthful, heartfelt prose. But what you also take with you after the last page is read is the feeling that for Harrison these recollections equal catharsis. As she writes in "Mother's Day Card" when she talks to her dead mother at the side of her children's beds: "Each night, by their beds, knees mortified by Lego, elbows planted among stuffed animals, I'm being rehabilitated."
The task of raising her fell to her mother's parents. Her eccentric grandmother, a sprightly, petite woman, alternately spoiled her, then chastised her. "I took you in. You ungrateful girl."
Her mother waltzes in and out, fanning the flames of the young daughter's yearning. It leaves a hunger deep within, that will haunt her throughout life.
There are fascinating facts woven throughout the book. Harrison's grandmother's formative years were spent in Shanghai, and we learn much about the culture in "Interior Castles." In "Seeking Rapture" Harrison writes about the various religious forays of her family. From a birthright of Judaism, to Christian Science, then Catholicism, we are given insights into the doctrines of Mary Baker Eddy, as well as thoughts on saints like Frances Xavier Cabrini.
In "What Remains" she examines death from many angles,pondering the meaning behind the keeping of relics. Her mother's death from breast cancer, when Kathryn was just 24, had seared her deeply. "Is it because I have had more occasions to consider death than most women my age that I find the remains of the dead, both their bodies and their possessions so compelling? My grandparents and my mother all died beofre I turned thirty, within the same few years. I saved relics of each of these people I loved: locks of hair, photographs, jewelry, letters."
She shares her descent into anorexia and bulemia, and we watch her grapple with, then come to terms with her griefs.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Autobiographical account of Kathryn Harrison's life growing up. Her mother was an irresponsible, selfish teen mother. So, her grandparents basically brought her up. Read morePublished on July 10, 2012 by Kathryn C. Hogan
Kathryn Harrison has been a favorite author of mine for years and Amazon allows me to search and find books you do not find in the bookstores.Published on September 20, 2010 by stewart5fam