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Heart Berries

Author:

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Original Language: English (USA) | 160 pp. | February 2018

 

2 Seas Represents: Dutch, French, and Nordic Rights
Rights sold: Canada (Doubleday, in a pre-empt), Audio (Tantor)
2018 Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Selection

MEMOIR

“Mailhot’s first book defies containment and categorization. In titled essays, it is a poetic memoir told in otherworldly sentences. . . . Not shy, nor raw, nor typical in any way, this is a powerfully crafted and vulnerable account of living and writing about it.” – Booklist

“Mailhot fearlessly addresses intimately personal issues with a scorching honesty derived from psychological pain and true epiphany. . . . Slim, elegiac, and delivered with an economy of meticulous prose, the book calibrates the author’s history as an abused child and an adult constantly at war with the demons of mental illness. An elegant, deeply expressive meditation infused with humanity and grace.” – Kirkus Reviews

“I was aware within maybe three sentences that I was in the presence of a generational talent. I was in the presence of something new.” – Sherman Alexie

“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.” – Roxane Gay, author of Hunger

“There is some word we have not invented yet that means honesty to the hundredth power, that means courage, exponentially extended, that means I will flay myself for my art, for my survival, for my family, to keep breathing, to keep writing, to keep being alive. Inside that opening is beauty beyond all measure, the truth that art was invented to carry, and power enough to light the word. This book is that kind of opening.” – Pam Houston, author of Contents May Have Shifted

“Inside Terese Mailhot’s phenomenal memoir Heart Berries the truth wrestles a knot between hustle and heart. How does a woman raised on a reservation in Canada forge a life story in the face of a culture hell-bent on keeping her quiet and calm? By and through her body, is how, and this woman’s body rages, desires, screams and whispers its way into the reader’s body, as if to remind us that the rest of the story will not be silenced. Terese radically reinvents language in order to surface what has been murdered by American culture: the body of a woman, the voice of a warrior, the stories of ancestral spirit jutting up and through the present tense. I am mesmerized by her lyricism because it is shot through with funny angry beautiful brutal truths. This is a writer for our times who simultaneously blows up time. Thank oceans.” – Lidia Yuknavitch, author of The Book of Joan, The Chronology of Water and The Small Backs of Children

“This book is ache and balm. It is electric honesty and rigorous craft. It concerns a woman who veers into difficult and haunted corners. She meets ghosts and hospitals. She ends up in a mutinous wing of memoir, disobeying all colonial postures, ‘neat narratives,’ formulas and governments. The resulting story is brave and bewitching. I am so grateful to Terese Marie Mailhot, a fiery new voice, whose words devoured my heart.” – Kyo Maclear, bestselling author of Birds Art Life

“Heart Berries is phenomenal. I finished the book and went right back to the beginning to read through once again; my understanding deepened, as did the mystery. Mailhot’s voice is so clear, so disruptive, so assured, and always so mesmerizingly poetic—it somehow startles and lulls all at once. I was KNOCKED DOWN.” – Justin Torres, author of We the Animals

“Unearthing medicine and receiving power requires you to give your life, and in her debut memoir, Mailhot fearlessly delivers. By turns tender, sad, angry, and funny, Heart Berries is a thought-provoking, powerful exploration of what it means to be a contemporary Indigenous woman and mother.” – Eden Robinson, author of the Scotiabank Giller Prize short-listed novel Son of a Trickster

“In this debut memoir, Terese Marie Mailhot sends across generations a love letter to women considered difficult. She sends a manifesto toward remembering—culture and heartbreak and laughter. She writes to the men who love these women. She writes prose tight as a perfect sheet, tucked . . . To read this book is to engage with one of our very best minds at work.” – Toni Jensen, author of From the Hilltop

“Heart Berries is 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. It is disturbing and hilarious. It contains sentences of such poetry and power that you will be compelled to set the book down and walk away to recover from the tremors. 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 Me

 

Heart Berries is the powerful, poetic memoir of Terese Marie Mailhot’s of her coming of age, following her as she navigates single motherhood, academia, and relationships during young adulthood.

Having survived a profoundly dysfunctional upbringing only to find herself hospitalized and facing a dual diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder and bipolar II disorder, Terese is given a notebook and begins to write her way out of trauma. The triumphant result is Heart Berries, a tribute to Mailhot’s mother, a social worker and activist who had a thing for prisoners and whose romance with a convicted murderer was portrayed in the controversial Broadway play, and corresponding Paul Simon album, Capeman. It is also a story of reconciliation with her father—an abusive drunk and a brilliant artist—who was murdered under mysterious circumstances; and an elegy on how difficult it is to love someone while dragging the long shadows of shame.

Mailhot “trusts the reader to understand that memory isn’t exact, but melded to imagination, pain, and what we can bring ourselves to accept.” Her unique and at times unsettling voice graphically illustrates her mental state. As she writes, she discovers her own true voice, seizes control of her story, and, in so doing, re-establishes her connection to her family, to her people, and to her place in the world.

 

Terese Marie Mailhot graduated from the Institute of American Indian Arts with an MFA in fiction and is the Saturday Editor at The Rumpus and a columnist for Indian Country Today. Her work has appeared in The Rumpus, Carve Magazine, The Offing, The Toast, Yellow Medicine Review, and elsewhere. The recipient of several fellowships—SWAIA Discovery Fellowship, Vermont Studio Center Fellowship, Writing by Writers Fellowship, and the Elk Writer’s Workshop Fellowship—she was recently named the Tecumseh Post Doctoral Fellow at Purdue University in Indiana.