- Paperback: 264 pages
- Publisher: University Alabama Press; First edition (March 1, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0817357149
- ISBN-13: 978-0817357146
- Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.1 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 22 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #153,293 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Darkroom: A Memoir in Black and White Paperback – March 1, 2012
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I've often reflected on those times, that little town, in my formative years thinking I should write a book to try and explain it as much to myself perhaps as to my grandchildren. Reading Darkroom has helped me process my experiences from a unique perspective, neither that of a white person entrenched in the status quo, nor a black person struggling with American apartheid, but an embedded immigrant observer bearing witness to the darker side of our human condition.
I do not recommend that anyone try to read this book on a regular Kindle as I did. You are not able to see the graphics well enough, and that is part of the book's unique perspective.
Dark Room is both a personal and family memoir. It is also a memoir about the troubles of immigration, of being always The Other. The book it is perfect to illustrate Alterity processes. In a way, it is just normal that the Quinteros would see "the others" in American society, the Afro-Americans, with empathy and humanness. They themselves were "the others" to both white and black people. This gave them an unique vantage point, and also created troubled for them in their personal relationships. I also like the fact that we witness the different fortunes of the Quintero's siblings, as immigration affects differently to the members of the same family because people are, after all, individuals.
Dark Memoir is a lovely Memoir that goes from the personal to the familiar, stopping at the historical. Quintero herself reveals at the that memory is not the only source of her Memoir, as an historical approach is given to the narration of some of the horrific events happened in Alabama during the 1960s. Moreover, she was academically advised and supervised to produce a Memoir that is clear about the value of our personal memory in a Memoir, especially when dealing with historical events. I think that shows. There is some sort of detachment in the narration at times, that comes from there.
Despite being barely present, Argentina is never forgotten, especially because Lila's mother would recall her beloved Buenos Aires and infuse their American children with a taste for their country of origin. Argentina or Argentinean culture were not imposed on the children, and Lila has ended being very much in touch with her Argentinean family and keeping Argentina culture close to her heart even though she progressively assimilated into America. .
Beyond the narrative, the book is wonderfully drawn, with a precise use of ink pen drawing, a great use of chiaroscuro and portrait, and an elegant use of white space. The number of vignettes per page is small, favouring big sized detailed ones, sometimes with barely any text; other times the narration and text is the focus and just a few elements of drawing are present in the page. Generally speaking, the book is visually interesting and varied. This being the case, the book reads quickly, and feels shorter than the 200+ pages that the book has. In fact, was about 60 of the book inn my Kindle and the book was already finished, just the long heart-felt acknowledgements at the end of the book occupying the rest of the book. What the heck?!