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Fierce Attachments: A Memoir (FSG Classics) Paperback – August 25, 2005
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Rarely is the barbed edge of mother love described with such scorching wit and raw emotion as it is in Vivian Gornick's reissued memoir. Fierce Attachments zigzags between a Bronx tenement teeming with immigrants in the 1940s and New York in the 1980s. It chronicles an almighty struggle between the author and her mother, a stubborn rabble-rouser bursting with tart, angry pronouncements, moxie, and an undeniable measure of charm. Waving away an "Eastern religionist" trying to sell her on his god, she raps out: "Young man, I am a Jew and a socialist. I think that's more than enough for one lifetime, don't you?" Her husband's untimely death is the occasion for such wild histrionics--screaming, refusing to walk, flinging herself into the grave--that when Gornick works the Middle East years later as a journalist, the ululating cries and fainting mourners at funerals seem comfortably familiar. The rapid-fire flow of confidences and furious arguments between the duo mellow slightly, believably, as they grow older together. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
This supple, energized memoir chronicles Gornick's volatile relationship with her mother and her unsuccessful battle to reject a legacy of hatred, depression, humiliation and self-pity. An able storyteller with a keen ear for dialogue, Gornick (Essays in Feminism effectively montages the intimate, crude kaffeeklatsches in the Bronx tenement of her youth with street scenes from present-day Manhattan. Particularly vivid is the portrait of Nettie, the sensual, Gentile outsider among Jewish immigrant neighbors, who drives a deeper wedge between mother and daughter when she takes the young Gornick under her tutelage. The author's inherited rage particularly doomed her relationships with men, she feels, and she supplies bleak details from her failed marriage as well as her affairs with an older married man and a psychotic childhood love. Unfortunately, the insightful "deprivation litany" bogs down with "knee-jerk antagonism," therapy-talk and self-indulgence as a 48-year-old Gornick obsessively censures an 80-year-old mother.
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top customer reviews
The author shares everything with her readers. Nothing is swept under the rug. Sometimes the intensity between these two women personally, and in their various external relationships is exhausting, and yet the reader struggles on because it has become personal. I wanted these two women to move forward, to maximize their potential, to find some joy in living, to free themselves of the accumulation of negative experiences that forged their lives, and to liberate themselves from one another.
To the very last page, this densely-written memoir was an engaging and deeply-satisfying read.
It connected me with my own emotions towards my mother: true love, devotion, rivalry and antagonism and sometimes hate, just to find out how much of her I became.