Vivian Gornicks Fierce Attachmentshailed by the New York Times for the renowned feminist authors mesmerizing, thrilling truths within its pageshas been selected by the publications book critics as the #1 Best Memoir of the Past 50 Years.
In this deeply etched and haunting memoir, Vivian Gornick tells the story of her lifelong battle with her mother for independence. There have been numerous books about mother and daughter, but none has dealt with this closest of filial relations as directly or as ruthlessly. Gornicks groundbreaking book confronts what Edna OBrien has called the prinicpal crux of female despair: the unacknowledged Oedipal nature of the mother-daughter bond.
Born and raised in the Bronx, the daughter of urban peasants, Gornick grows up in a household dominated by her intelligent but uneducated mothers romantic depression over the early death of her husband. Next door lives Nettie, an attractive widow whose calculating sensuality appeals greatly to Vivian. These women with their opposing models of femininity continue, well into adulthood, to affect Gornicks struggle to find herself in love and in work.
As Gornick walks with her aged mother through the streets of New York, arguing and remembering the past, each wins the readers admiration: the caustic and clear-thinking daughter, for her courage and tenacity in really talking to her mother about the most basic issues of their lives, and the still powerful and intuitively-wise old woman, who again and again proves herself her daughters mother.
Unsparing, deeply courageous, Fierce Attachments is one of the most remarkable documents of family feeling that has been written, a classic that helped start the memoir boom and remains one of the most moving examples of the genre.
[Gornick] stares unflinchingly at all that is hidden, difficult, strange, unresolvable in herself and othersat loneliness, sexual malice and the devouring, claustral closeness of mothers and daughters[Fierce Attachments is] a portrait of the artist as she finds a languageoriginal, allergic to euphemism and therapeutic banalitiesworthy of the women that raised her.The New York Times
About the Author
Vivian Gornick's books include Approaching Eye Level, The End of The Novel of Love, and The Situation and The Story. She lives in New York City.
"Theres a clarity to this memoir thats so brilliant it's unsettling; Gornick finds a measure of freedom in her writing and her feminist activism, but even then, she and her mother can never let each other go." Jennifer Szalai, The New York Times Book Review
There are only so many words in the dictionary with which to say how very good this book is. Fierce Attachments deserves them all. The Washington Post Book World
Gornick is a distinctive and startling artist--the true subject of this brilliant book. The Nation
Searingly intimate and courageous... Gornick's writing is brilliant, clean, and colorful, simultaneously evoking the inner and outer spaces she is trying to illuminate. Mother Jones
Inspiring... Gornick carves, in careful, electrifying words, each scar and glory of her unconventional life. Guardian Book Supplement