Rupi Kaur divided her poetry collection into five sections. Wilting begins…on the last day of love…my heart cracked inside my body…and continues this part of the story throughout the following poems. Falling exposes the self in an introspection of negativity, moving from grief to the numbness of sudden aloneness. Rooting reaches the stage of connecting with community, recognizing pain and fear, power and strength on a larger scale. Rising expands and contract the self, bringing the strength inward…i will welcome…a partner…who is my equal…celebrating the self and being proud of ancestry. Blooming shares the fruits of the labors of those who have gone before…i am the first woman in my lineage with freedom of choice…praising her parents’ decision to immigrate and allow daughters to fully become themselves. Kaur’s poetry has been derided for being so accessible to the masses, which is a shame, because what then is the point of exclusivity of art…
This is a beautiful collection of poetry on many ideas, including love, family, immigration, and feminism. Kaur’s work is succinct and deep, thought-provoking, and conversation-inducing.
Patricia sacrifices her social life and romance to care for her mother, whom everyone assumes is going through “the change.” Patty knows better, but doesn’t know how to help her mother find herself after accommodating her husband their entire marriage. As she and her siblings come of age, they move on and away from their parents, becoming distinctly different individuals who come together in the end for Patty’s wedding. Told in short story form, going back generations, the women in Patty’s ancestry lay a foundation of accommodation and depression that she is determined to escape. The women in these stories are strong, but historical convention keeps them in check, and they don’t have the tools to continually fight social mores of gender expectations. The writing flows so well that the stories lead right into each other, though they can, and have (and won prizes), stand alone. Together, they show the pattern repeated by each generation of women in choosing partners to “save” them from their families, judging poorly based on immediate escape. That they stay with their ill choices is more a matter of their time in history, as shown by Patty’s mother being unable to get a driver’s license without her husband’s or father’s permission.
The tales in this book depict would-be heroines succumbing the constraints of patriarchal society, straining to be free. That Patty’s father has a “heart attack” when her mother announces that she is leaving him will be familiar to many women. Thus she stays out of obligation, a heart-rending decision.
Chloe finds lots of trouble when she visits her fellow curator Claudia in Mineral Springs, where the historical site that her friend works for is at risk of closing due to monies being directed toward Chloe’s worksite Old World Wisconsin. While Chloe researches the mystery of the ancient skeleton found in another friend’s basement, she nearly succumbs to contemporary murderers. The house with the potential murder victim was built by the Pascoe family, whom we follow in a parallel tale on their immigration from Cornwall, England to mineral mining pioneering in Wisconsin.
I’m delighted to discover that this book is part of a series. Unfortunately, I’ve just read the latest, which is actually fine, because it’s self-contained. The author is an excellent storyteller. She takes the reader through the past and present tales, linking them through artifacts, ancestry, and setting. I’m frustrated that clues for Chloe’s epiphanies are not always revealed to the reader, but secrets are released in a timely manner. My questions as I read were all answered by the end, not necessarily where I would have placed them, but satisfying, nonetheless. The history woven throughout made me want to visit the historical sites. She even included photographs and a glossary of Cornish terms.
Readers who love a good mystery and / or well-wrought historical fiction will like this series. I received an ARC through NetGalley.com and the launch date is October 8.