Heart Berries

Heart Berries

“An epic take—an Iliad for the indigenous. It is the story of one First Nation woman and her geographic, emotional, and theological search for meaning in a colonial world…Terese is a world-changing talent, and I recommend this book with 100% of my soul.” —Sherman Alexie, author of You Don’t Have to Say You Love MeHeart Berries is a powerful, poetic memoir of a woman’s comi...

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Title:Heart Berries
Author:Terese Marie Mailhot
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Edition Language:English

Heart Berries Reviews

  • Leigh

    Still processing - this was a difficult read for me and likely will be for folks with family histories of abuse or mental illness - there is a big room in the library in my head full of difficult books great for writing and reading the way out of trauma and this is one of those, absolutely. But beyond that:

    Terese Marie Mailhot is a staggeringly gifted writer. Her experimentation with form and style and her resistance to (I kind of hate to say this but) "stereotypical memoir" narratives of redemp

    Still processing - this was a difficult read for me and likely will be for folks with family histories of abuse or mental illness - there is a big room in the library in my head full of difficult books great for writing and reading the way out of trauma and this is one of those, absolutely. But beyond that:

    Terese Marie Mailhot is a staggeringly gifted writer. Her experimentation with form and style and her resistance to (I kind of hate to say this but) "stereotypical memoir" narratives of redemption and recovery make this a five-star read for me. It's tight - Every word and every sentence are necessary. I've quoted whole pages to friends - she doles out moments of pure hard bright truth throughout that had me laughing and weeping publicly. In short: this book gutted me and I loved every page for it.

    I also greatly appreciated the Q&A afterword with Joan Naviyuk Kane, which adds some more context & info.

    Thanks to Catapult and Counterpoint for the review copy -

  • Jennybeast

    This is not ordinarily the sort of book I pick up, but I found it powerful and disturbing and heart wrenching to read. Mailhot writes her madness in an extraordinarily compelling way, one that viscerally portrays the abuse and trauma at the heart of her story. Every time I went to put it down, I found myself compelled to pick it up again.

    Advanced Reader's Copy provided by Edelweiss.

  • Krystal

    This poetic memoir deconstructs Indigenous stereotypes, as Terese Marie Mailhot disrupts what her narrative should look like, re-imagining personal sovereignty on her own terms!

  • Chelsea Bryan

    Heart Berries was relentlessly interesting on an intellectual, emotional and stylistic level, and painful to read. The way the plot moved and things got communicated was enigmatic and moving in a way that I find abstract visual art can be. I think the book is really a lot like modern art, and that it pushed the forefront and boundaries of memoir. On the emotional side, the narrator's internal and external struggles were so complicated that the book made me deeply thoughtful, and reading it in on

    Heart Berries was relentlessly interesting on an intellectual, emotional and stylistic level, and painful to read. The way the plot moved and things got communicated was enigmatic and moving in a way that I find abstract visual art can be. I think the book is really a lot like modern art, and that it pushed the forefront and boundaries of memoir. On the emotional side, the narrator's internal and external struggles were so complicated that the book made me deeply thoughtful, and reading it in one weekend made me feel somewhat wrecked. Yes, in a good way, but also because of the questions the narrator's story and experience raise about mental health as it relates to family history and trauma. In other words, I found the book to be both comforting and disturbing. A deeply complex and interesting read.

  • Roxane

    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. She writes of motherhood, loss, absence, want, suffering, love, mental illness, betrayal, and survival. She does this without blinking but to say she is fearless would be to miss the point. These essays are too intimate, too absorbing, too beautifully written, but never ever too much. What Mailhot has accomplished

    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. She writes of motherhood, loss, absence, want, suffering, love, mental illness, betrayal, and survival. She does this without blinking but to say she is fearless would be to miss the point. These essays are too intimate, too absorbing, too beautifully written, but never ever too much. What Mailhot has accomplished in this exquisite book is brilliance both raw and refined, testament.

  • Janet

    Terese Marie Mailhot’s poetic, shapeshifting memoir

    , a series of tiny impressionistic essays of self-exploration into the very roots of trauma and madness, is as impossible to describe as it is to shake off. Mailhot is a woman at odds with herself and the world, and her book is in a soul-searching dialogue moving towards self-acceptance by means of the creation of a new definition of self. Reading her book is a dangerous activity, as I’m sure writing it was. A First Nations woman,

    Terese Marie Mailhot’s poetic, shapeshifting memoir

    , a series of tiny impressionistic essays of self-exploration into the very roots of trauma and madness, is as impossible to describe as it is to shake off. Mailhot is a woman at odds with herself and the world, and her book is in a soul-searching dialogue moving towards self-acceptance by means of the creation of a new definition of self. Reading her book is a dangerous activity, as I’m sure writing it was. A First Nations woman, the product of equal parts early trauma and cultural fortitude, she wrestles with her need, her greed, her hunger, her longing, desperate for love and yet trying the very people she loves the most—unapologetically, cutting to the bone with it all. I wanted to protect her as she interrogated her life and her actions, examining issues of grief and prolonged trauma, the naked craving for love and acceptance, a life disrupted by mental illness and the ongoing question of identity, the rage to matter—to herself most of all.

    Here’s just a bit from the very beginning: “The ugly truth is that I lost my son Isadore in court. The Hague convention. The ugly of that truth is that I gave birth to my second son as I was losing the first.”

    The matter of factness of the voice belies a blistering grief.

    “I packed my baby and left the reservation. I came from the mountains to an infinite and flat brown to bury my grief, I left because I was hungry.... I’m a river widened by misery, and the potency of my language is more than human. It’s an Indian condition to be proud of survival but reluctant to call it resilience. Resilience seems ascribed to a human condition in white people.”

    She is both self-defining and enraged at her self-definition. ‘I feel like a squaw. The type white people imagine: a feral thing with greasy hair and nimble fingers wanting. My earliest memories, and you , and the baby, have turned earth in my body. I don’t know what I am anymore.

    You have made me feel sick of myself.”

    Her specificity eludes blame, not for an unwillingness to take responsibility but because of the sheer vividness of the description and the acceptance of pain as part of life, foundational.

    Although the language is very simple and straightforward, the mind behind them is anything but. The juxtaposition of exceptional intelligence and intense wounded need is as compelling to read as it was/is to live, and the resulting images and simple statements provides a resonant poetry, the impressionistic treatment of time and place reveals layers, circling back as memory does.

    It is a tiny book to hold such intensity—there were times I could only read a few pages at a time before needing to let what I’d read sink in. It reminded me most of Lucia Berlin’s A Manual for Cleaning Women in its depiction of messy lives that can’t be packaged and judged.

    Mailhot questions everything, and gives frank admission to the jaggedness of her nature, the passion and the yearning, the ugliness and the beauty and the desperate need, her complex and at times contradictory feelings about herself as a contemporary Native American woman and writer--pride and veneration warring with culturally induced shame and a rage against performance and trying to find an authentic way to be.

    For all its intensity, it is a quiet book, intimate as a confessional. The paragraphs are short, the sentences short and modulated. There is no overstatement. It’s this contradiction that makes the book so memorable. It’s as if the writer and the broken woman are working their way towards one another in front of your eyes.

    I didn’t feel ‘done’ when I was finished—it dared me to come back and see whether my initial reactions shifted in a second reading, a third, maybe more.

    will hit the bookstores in February 2018.

  • Tommy

    Heart Berries is heartbreaking and breathtaking in its scope, vision, and beauty. There’s nothing out there like this book. It is formally experimental and yet totally accessible. There is truth, power, and beauty in more sentences here than in almost any book I can think of. Terese uses the truths and facts of her own life to explore bigger themes about what it means to be Native now, what it means to be a Native woman, and what it means to write with stakes and grace. The book has teeth and he

    Heart Berries is heartbreaking and breathtaking in its scope, vision, and beauty. There’s nothing out there like this book. It is formally experimental and yet totally accessible. There is truth, power, and beauty in more sentences here than in almost any book I can think of. Terese uses the truths and facts of her own life to explore bigger themes about what it means to be Native now, what it means to be a Native woman, and what it means to write with stakes and grace. The book has teeth and heart and brain. It is a mythical, lyrical work about motherhood, about pain, loss and love. I was left in awe. Terese is an essential new voice in the Native literary world, as well as in the world at large. She’s a force to be reckoned with.

  • Cassie

    I’m still thinking on it.

  • Maja Lisa

    Thanks to Terese Marie Mailhot and Counterpoint Press for providing an advanced copy.

    Short, poetic, and raw. I'm still processing this one. Although it falls at a tiny 160 pages, it takes a while to read each page as there are no extra words, no extra phrases--it is packed and dense and heavy.

    I liked the Q&A afterword with Joan Kane, which adds some more information and discussion with the author.

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