Heart Berries

Publication Date:

February 2018



Original language and publisher

English (USA) | Counterpoint Press

Territories Handled

World excl. English North America

Territories Sold

Canada (English) (Doubleday, in a pre-empt)
Audio (Tantor)
English (UK) (Bloomsbury, at auction)
South Korea (Oryoil)
Canada (French) (Marchand de Feuilles)
France (Editions Depaysage)
Mexico (Planeta)
France (Editions Depaysage )



Foreign Covers

Marchand de Feuilles

Heart Berries


“I am quietly reveling in the profundity of Mailhot’s deliberate transgression in Heart Berries and its perfect results. I love her suspicion of words. I have always been terrified and in awe of the power of words – but Mailhot does not let them silence her in Heart Berries. She finds the purest way to say what she needs to say… [T]he writing is so good it’s hard not to temporarily be distracted from the content or narrative by its brilliance…Perhaps, because this author so generously allows us to be her witness, we are somehow able to see ourselves more clearly and become better witnesses to ourselves.”—Emma WatsonOfficial March/April selection for Our Shared Shelf

“In this stunning memoir, indigenous author Mailhot does what few in the overcrowded genre can: She fashions a new way of telling a familiar story of trauma, loss and reconciliation.”  — San Francisco Chronicle

“Deeply moving and incredibly beautifully written.” — Vogue Australia

Part love letter, part poem, it is a genre-defying marvel of a memoir… [I]t is wholly enchanting. Mailhot wrings grand truths out of even the predictable events that define most lives… A fearless and artistic work, Heart Berries is ultimately a tale of not just surviving, but thriving even in the dark.” — Toronto Star

You’ve never read a memoir—or, really, any  book—quite like this. This debut is slim . . . but Mailhot still tells her  story with remarkable depth and feeling.” — Entertainment Weekly

“Through this beautifully written memoir we get glimpses, snapshots and explicit details of her experience . . . It goes without saying Heart Berries is necessary today.” — Rebel Women Lit

“A sledgehammer . . . Her experiments with structure and language . . . are in the service of trying to find new ways to think about the past, trauma, repetition, and reconciliation, which might be a way of saying a new model for the memoir . . . If Heart Berries is any indication, the work to come will not just surface suppressed stories; it might give birth to new forms.” — Parul, Sehgal, The New York Times

“Sharp and scorching . . . It’s exciting to think that a person might be able to write their way out of seemingly insurmountable personal, cultural and historical trauma. It’s even more exciting to  actually watch someone appear, at least partly, to do so. . . . [T]his unconventional epic should  be part of the canon.” —The Chicago Tribune

“With concise, lyrical prose, Mailhot illuminates her history—an abusive parent, a teen marriage, and a child removed from her care by the courts—in a way that feels as much like an elegy as a  collection of memories.” —Harper’s Bazaar

“It is incredibly beautiful… I am just absolutely in love with it…I had to use every ounce of self-control to not sit and read it when it came to my house.” — Reading Women Podcast

“Mailhot’s memoir is one to sit with and absorb slowly, chapter by chapter . . . It’s a beautiful read with a deep emotional breadth.” — Shondaland

“Mailhot’s memoir isn’t just another confession of the hells of living with PTSD and BiPolar disorder: it’s a woman writing herself out of the darkness and into acceptance of the events in her life.” — The Coil

“This gut punch of a memoir . . . [is] essentially a love letter, full of humor and truth, to tough, challenging women everywhere.” —Marie Claire

“Powerful and raw, Heart Berries looks unflinchingly at trauma, love, pain, self-acceptance, and what it means to be a Native woman today.” — BuzzFeed

“This stunning, poetic memoir from Terese Marie Mailhot burns like hot coal. I read it in a single feverish session, completely absorbed and transported by Mailhot’s powerful and original voice . . . The strength of her writing comes from Mailhot’s fearless embrace of emotional darkness and in her depiction of the psychic cost of living in a white man’s world.” —BookPage

“Mailhot works language like a poet and lets memory and time twist around to elicit from herself deeper truths about childhood trauma, mental illness, Native identity, love, romance, and motherhood.” — Pasatiempo

“Her poetic memoir is painfully straight to the point — in the best way possible. It’s a pleasure to read along as she takes control of her life and finds her voice.”—HelloGiggles

“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

“Sometimes a writer’s voice is so distinctive, so angry and messy yet wise, that her story takes on the kind of urgency that makes you turn pages faster and faster. Terese Marie Mailhot has one of those voices, and her memoir about being raised on a Canadian reservation and coming to understand what it means to be an indigenous person in modern times is breathtaking.” — Esquire

“Poetic is an oft-used descriptor of lovely writing, and this book seems to be something more striking than the word signifies: a memoir and a poem, a haunting and dazzlingly written narrative of Mailhot’s growing up on a reservation in the Pacific Northwest.”— Huffington Post

“[A]n innovative coming-of-age narrative about Mailhot’s upbringing on the Sea Island Indian Reservation in the Pacific Northwest. . . explores being Indigenous in a world that has neglected the community for centuries.” — Bitch

“A luminous, poetic memoir.” — Entertainment Weekly

“This powerful memoir reveals a life of struggle and illness, deprivation and pain, but is so full of strength in the face of adversity, that it is impossible not to read it and feel real hope and the possibility of triumph and renewal, no matter how dark things seem… The result is this singularly moving, poetic book, one full of rage and desire, fear and brilliance. Prepare for it to sink its teeth into your very heart.” — Nylon

“Presenting herself at times as “ruined”–and “ruining”–she radiates a vulnerability that Fields’s deft narration captures. Mailhot’s questions and answers at the audiobook’s end are especially enlightening; listeners may want to listen once through, then loop back a second time to fully absorb her intimate honesty..” — Audiofile Magazine

“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.

Marketing Information

  • New York Times Editors’ Choice
  • Emma Watson Book Club selection
  • NPR Best Book of the Year
  • Winner of the Spalding Prize for the Promotion of Peace and Justice in Literature
  • 2018 Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Selection
  • Finalist for the Governor-General’s Literary Award. Shortlisted for the Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize
  • On the 5th print run in a month.

Foreign Covers

Marchand de Feuilles