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The Chronology of Water: A Memoir by Lidia Yuknavitch
The Chronology of Water: A Memoir

mpadhos, February 1, 2012

My first inspiration for a synoptic headline for Lidia Yuknavitch’s The Chronology of Water was “a self-congratulatory expose of a personal hell-on-earth”; which is a little harsh because there is redemption, both personal and artistic, throughout the work. But you might need a strong stomach as well as a voyeuristic/sado-masochistic curiosity to see it through.

If the domestication of a young girl by a raging father and a hapless mother is the source of this voracious self-loathing, then we should all be humbled and terrified. Yet any compassion for the girl-child becomes an afterthought as the self-abuse materializes in adolescence and multiplies exponentially in the young woman. The author’s quirky, intentionally off-hand exposition of her personal hell simply does not allow for something as conventional as pathos, and one might well conclude complicity rather than helplessness. That there is a good deal of both is perhaps the most disturbing aspect of this uniquely unliterary work
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