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Sleeping with Cats: A Memoir Paperback – December 24, 2002
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From Publishers Weekly
Born in the mid-1930s in a tough Detroit neighborhood, poet and novelist Piercy (Dance the Eagle to Sleep) fought grueling battles in her youth, involving difficult relationships with her parents, participation in a street gang and more. When she became pregnant at 17, her mother left her alone to perform an abortion on herself she almost bled to death and her hostile father once broke her fingers in the car door when she was late for a shopping trip. Piercy notes that her memoir's focus is her emotional life, but that understates the book's rich picture of her literary and political life. That life embraces 15 novels and just as many books of poetry, three marriages (one a 15-year open relationship in a communal household), sojourns in Chicago, San Francisco, Brooklyn and Paris, and a deep engagement in the political movements of the 1960s through the '80s. She peppers these events with charming vignettes of the many cats she's befriended during her life. Piercy is as convincing writing about her rough beginnings as she is describing her present status as the "cat lady" of her tiny Cape Cod town. "Remembering," she writes, "is like one of those old-fashioned black-and-white-tile floors: wherever I stand or sit, the tiles converge upon me. So our pasts always seem to lead us directly to our present choices. We turn and make a pattern of the chaos of our lives so that we belong exactly where we are." B&w photos.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Library Journal
Prolific poet and novelist Piercy retells her life from the bottom up, starting in working-class Detroit.
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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"Writing sometimes feels frivolous and sometimes sacred, but memory is one of my strongest muses. I serve her with my words. So long as people read, those we loved survive however evanescently. As do we writers, saying with our life's work, 'Remember.' Remember us. Remember me."
Although you might not agree with many of Piercy's life choices, you have to admire her discipline when it came to her craft. I respect her right to make the choices she made, and I admire her work tremendously, this book included. And don't worry, Marge. We'll remember you. Thanks for sharing this many-layered look at an eventful life in the arts. - Tim Bazzett, author of the Reed City Boy trilogy and Love, War & Polio
The title of her memoir foregrounds her enduring love affair with felines. `Sleeping with Cats' is dedicated to `all those [she has] loved - two and four footed'. Tender evocation of the cats she has nurtured (and which have in turn nurtured her) sit alongside her account of personal and political life, and a selection of her poetry. I am not a `cat person', but Piercy's skill in rendering feline diversity is such that this now feels like a character flaw! Her included poems are limpid and mesmerizing; conveying as much `between the lines' as the words she weaves. As to her accounts of early familhy life, ongoing social activism, and two marriages prior to her enduring passionate partnership with writer Ira Wood, they are a veritable treasure trove of insight, suggestiveness, and relentless self-examination.
At every level, this is a resonant memoir, its combination of diverse elements as potent as it is provocative. Marge Piercy seems to me to be one of the most original of feminist voices, and it is difficult to convey the blend of her alchemy. The notes she sounds are wide-ranging, and she casts searching light on a vast array of topics within a life which has never ceased to be passionately engaged. `Sleeping with Cats' lingers in the mind and heart - a highly recommended read.
If you are a fan, you will enjoy this greatly.