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5 Burnside MEMOIR- WELLNESS

The Memory Palace

by

The Memory Palace Cover

ISBN13: 9781439183311
ISBN10: 1439183317
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
All Product Details

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

"People have abandoned their loved ones for much less than you've been through," Bartók is told at her mother's memorial service. It is a poignant observation about the relationship between Mira, her sister, and their mentally ill mother. Before she was struck with schizophrenia at the age of nineteen, beautiful piano protege Norma Herr had been the most vibrant personality in the room. She loved her daughters and did her best to raise them well, but as her mental state deteriorated, Norma spoke less about Chopin and more about Nazis and her fear that her daughters would be kidnapped, murdered, or raped.

When the girls left for college, the harassment escalated — Norma called them obsessively, appeared at their apartments or jobs, threatened to kill herself if they did not return home. After a traumatic encounter, Mira and her sister were left with no choice but to change their names and sever all contact with Norma in order to stay safe. But while Mira pursued her career as an artist — exploring the ancient romance of Florence, the eerie mysticism of northern Norway, and the raw desert of Israel — the haunting memories of her mother were never far away.

Then one day, Mira's life changed forever after a debilitating car accident. As she struggled to recover from a traumatic brain injury, she was confronted with a need to recontextualize her life — she had to relearn how to paint, read, and interact with the outside world. In her search for a way back to her lost self, Mira reached out to the homeless shelter where she believed her mother was living and discovered that Norma was dying.

Mira and her sister traveled to Cleveland, where they shared an extraordinary reconciliation with their mother that none of them had thought possible. At the hospital, Mira discovered a set of keys that opened a storage unit Norma had been keeping for seventeen years. Filled with family photos, childhood toys, and ephemera from Norma's life, the storage unit brought back a flood of previous memories that Mira had thought were lost to her forever.

The Memory Palace is a breathtaking literary memoir about the complex meaning of love, truth, and the capacity for forgiveness among family. Through stunning prose and original art created by the author in tandem with the text, The Memory Palace explores the connections between mother and daughter that cannot be broken no matter how much exists — or is lost — between them.

Review:

"This moving, compassionately candid memoir by artist and children's book author Bartók describes a life dominated by her gifted but schizophrenic mother. Bartók and her sister, Rachel, both of whom grew up in Cleveland, are abandoned by their novelist father and go to live with their mother at their maternal grandparents' home. By 1990, a confrontation in which her mother cuts her with broken glass leads Bartók (née Myra Herr) to change her identity and flee the woman she calls 'the cry of madness in the dark.' Eventually, the estrangement leaves her mother homeless, wandering with her belongings in a knapsack, writing letters to her daughter's post office box. Reunited 17 years later, Bartók is suffering memory loss from an accident; her mother is 80 years old and dying from stomach cancer. Only through memories do they each find solace for their collective journey. Using a mnemonic technique from the Renaissance — a memory palace — Bartók imagines, chapter by chapter, a mansion whose rooms secure the treasured moments of her reconstructed past. With a key found stashed in her mother's knapsack, she unlocks a rental storage room filled with paintings, diaries, and photos. Bartók turns these strangely parallel narratives and overlapping wonders into a haunting, almost patchwork, narrative that lyrically chronicles a complex mother-daughter relationship. (Feb.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright PWyxz LLC)

Review:

“Schizophrenia is more than a thief of the mind and Mira Bartók gives us the layered understanding to see the illness for all its cruel manifestations when the illness hijacks her mother. The best memoirs illuminate us all, and The Memory Palace left me illuminated with Bartók’s courage and unwavering belief in artistic expression in the midst of a shattered family. The writing is spectacular.” Jacqueline Sheehan, Ph.D. New York Times-bestselling author of Lost & Found, and Now & Then

Review:

"Mira Bartók’s memoir will haunt you with its compassion for people who have mental illness and for the tender vulnerability of their children. Bartók’s writing is at times spare and at times lyrical as she struggles in the unpredictable and unsafe world of being the child of a paranoid schizophrenic. ‘How heavy is a dresser when you’re the only one pushing it against the door?’ she asks, distilling years of nights of fear. Beautifully written, touchingly told, The Memory Palace lingers, radiating with pain and fear, love and freedom." Janine Latus, author of If I Am Missing or Dead: a sister’s story of love, murder and liberation

Review:

"The Memory Palace is a stunning meditation on the tenacity of familial bonds, even in the face of extreme adversity, and an artist's struggle to claim her own creative life. Bartók carries us, room to luminous room, through her memory palace, filling it with stories that link loss to grace, guilt to love, the natural world's great beauty to the creative act, and tragic beginnings to quietly triumphant closings. This extraordinary book, with its beautiful illuminated images, will stay with me." Meredith Hall, author of Without A Map

Review:

"Mira Bartók’s harrowing and beautiful tale of growing up with her paranoid schizophrenic mother is in some ways a memoir about memory itself. For Bartók — suffering from a brain injury and raised by someone who had tenuous contact with the external world — the question “what really happened” takes on a particular urgency. She answers it with painstaking honesty, weaving deft parallels between domestic and institutional abuse, individual and national trauma. And as she recalls the shattering experiences of her childhood, literally illuminating them with her haunting mnemonic paintings, something that was never intact is made resonantly whole again." Alison Bechdel, author of Funhouse: A Family Tragicomic

Review:

"Richly textured, compassionate and heartbreaking." Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"Poignant, powerful, disturbing, and exceedingly well-written, this is an unforgettable memoir of loss and recovery, love and forgiveness. (Starred Review)" Booklist

Review:

"Neither sensational nor cagily sentimental nor self pitying, this grounded, exquisitely written work...requires reading." Library Journal

Review:

"On all counts, it’s an engrossing read." Elle

Review:

"Bartók...always believed her mother's sweetness endured...somewhere beneath the madness; she rediscovered that sweetness on her mother's deathbed. Her remarkable memoir compels us to consider that it must exist in others who have fallen outside the clutch of normalcy, too." Cleveland Plain Dealer

Review:

"Like the cabinet of wonders that is a frequent motif here, Bartók's memory palace contains some rare, distinctive and genuinely imaginative treasures." New York Times

Synopsis:

A gorgeous memoir about the 17-year estrangement of the author and her homeless schizophrenic mother, and their reunion.

Synopsis:

“ People have abandoned their loved ones for much less than you’ve been through,” Mira Bartók is told at her mother’s memorial service. It is a poignant observation about the relationship between Mira, her sister, and their mentally ill mother. Before she was struck with schizophrenia at the age of nineteen, beautiful piano protégé Norma Herr had been the most vibrant personality in the room. She loved her daughters and did her best to raise them well, but as her mental state deteriorated, Norma spoke less about Chopin and more about Nazis and her fear that her daughters would be kidnapped, murdered, or raped.

When the girls left for college, the harassment escalated—Norma called them obsessively, appeared at their apartments or jobs, threatened to kill herself if they did not return home. After a traumatic encounter, Mira and her sister were left with no choice but to change their names and sever all contact with Norma in order to stay safe. But while Mira pursued her career as an artist—exploring the ancient romance of Florence, the eerie mysticism of northern Norway, and the raw desert of Israel—the haunting memories of her mother were never far away.

Then one day, Mira’s life changed forever after a debilitating car accident. As she struggled to recover from a traumatic brain injury, she was confronted with a need to recontextualize her life—she had to relearn how to paint, read, and interact with the outside world. In her search for a way back to her lost self, Mira reached out to the homeless shelter where she believed her mother was living and discovered that Norma was dying.

Mira and her sister traveled to Cleveland, where they shared an extraordinary reconciliation with their mother that none of them had thought possible. At the hospital, Mira discovered a set of keys that opened a storage unit Norma had been keeping for seventeen years. Filled with family photos, childhood toys, and ephemera from Norma’s life, the storage unit brought back a flood of previous memories that Mira had thought were lost to her forever.

The Memory Palace is a breathtaking literary memoir about the complex meaning of love, truth, and the capacity for forgiveness among family. Through stunning prose and original art created by the author in tandem with the text, The Memory Palace explores the connections between mother and daughter that cannot be broken no matter how much exists—or is lost—between them.

About the Author

Mira Bartók has been repeatedly recognized for her efforts in academics, education, and the arts. She has received awards from such organizations as the Fulbright-Hays Foundation, The American Scandinavian Foundation, Associated Writing Programs, The Illinois Arts Council, Pen-America, and the Carnegie Fund for Writers. Her writing has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and has been noted in The Best American Essays 1999 and other anthologies. Her work has taken her around the globe from a colony of reindeer herders above the Arctic Circle to a classroom of high school students on the Israeli-Lebanon border.

What Our Readers Are Saying

Add a comment for a chance to win!
Average customer rating based on 3 comments:

Andrea Brooks, September 2, 2011 (view all comments by Andrea Brooks)
Beautifully written by the author, not only has a memior but a way of healing from the ways she was treated by her mom. I loved the small pictures throughout the book and I would love to see her drawings and painting sometime.
It saddened me when her mom kept them from the things they both loved so much. Also how she would come after them and say weird things, that were either not true, uncomfortable, and embarrassed them.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
Andrea Brooks, September 2, 2011 (view all comments by Andrea Brooks)
Wow!! This book drew me in from the start and I was stunned by the ways these girls had to put up with their mom and her behaviors.
It was a very good but, but sad too.
I was happy that they were able to deal with the tragedies that overwhelmed them and how they came closer together through all this.
This book was written with emotion and with heart.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
Leema, September 1, 2011 (view all comments by Leema)
I never thought I would read a book that came so close to describing the craziness I grew up with. This is more than a memoir - it's a meditation on art, music, nature and how it saves our lives and protects us in the darkest moments. The writing produces the most vivid pictures in my mind. This is a masterpiece - a stunning validation for everyone who has grown up with a mother that couldn't really be a mother.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
View all 3 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9781439183311
Author:
Bartok, Mira
Publisher:
Free Press
Subject:
Personal Memoirs
Subject:
Women
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Mentally ill parents - United States
Subject:
Herr, Norma Kurap
Subject:
Biography - General
Subject:
memoir, glass castle, schizophrenia, family, mother, mother daughter relationships, literary, award winning, awards, childhood, struggle, tragedy, family secret, secrets, reconciliation, cleveland, florence, norway, forgiveness
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Hardback
Publication Date:
20110111
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
illust t/o
Pages:
320
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in

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Related Subjects

Biography » General
Biography » Women
Featured Titles » Biography
Featured Titles » General
Featured Titles » Spirituality and Wellness
Health and Self-Help » Psychology » General Disorders
Health and Self-Help » Psychology » Psychopathology » Depression
Health and Self-Help » Self-Help » Biographies
Health and Self-Help » Self-Help » Memoirs
History and Social Science » Gender Studies » Featured Titles

The Memory Palace Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$9.50 In Stock
Product details 320 pages Free Press - English 9781439183311 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "This moving, compassionately candid memoir by artist and children's book author Bartók describes a life dominated by her gifted but schizophrenic mother. Bartók and her sister, Rachel, both of whom grew up in Cleveland, are abandoned by their novelist father and go to live with their mother at their maternal grandparents' home. By 1990, a confrontation in which her mother cuts her with broken glass leads Bartók (née Myra Herr) to change her identity and flee the woman she calls 'the cry of madness in the dark.' Eventually, the estrangement leaves her mother homeless, wandering with her belongings in a knapsack, writing letters to her daughter's post office box. Reunited 17 years later, Bartók is suffering memory loss from an accident; her mother is 80 years old and dying from stomach cancer. Only through memories do they each find solace for their collective journey. Using a mnemonic technique from the Renaissance — a memory palace — Bartók imagines, chapter by chapter, a mansion whose rooms secure the treasured moments of her reconstructed past. With a key found stashed in her mother's knapsack, she unlocks a rental storage room filled with paintings, diaries, and photos. Bartók turns these strangely parallel narratives and overlapping wonders into a haunting, almost patchwork, narrative that lyrically chronicles a complex mother-daughter relationship. (Feb.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright PWyxz LLC)
"Review" by , “Schizophrenia is more than a thief of the mind and Mira Bartók gives us the layered understanding to see the illness for all its cruel manifestations when the illness hijacks her mother. The best memoirs illuminate us all, and The Memory Palace left me illuminated with Bartók’s courage and unwavering belief in artistic expression in the midst of a shattered family. The writing is spectacular.”
"Review" by , "Mira Bartók’s memoir will haunt you with its compassion for people who have mental illness and for the tender vulnerability of their children. Bartók’s writing is at times spare and at times lyrical as she struggles in the unpredictable and unsafe world of being the child of a paranoid schizophrenic. ‘How heavy is a dresser when you’re the only one pushing it against the door?’ she asks, distilling years of nights of fear. Beautifully written, touchingly told, The Memory Palace lingers, radiating with pain and fear, love and freedom." Janine Latus, author of If I Am Missing or Dead: a sister’s story of love, murder and liberation
"Review" by , "The Memory Palace is a stunning meditation on the tenacity of familial bonds, even in the face of extreme adversity, and an artist's struggle to claim her own creative life. Bartók carries us, room to luminous room, through her memory palace, filling it with stories that link loss to grace, guilt to love, the natural world's great beauty to the creative act, and tragic beginnings to quietly triumphant closings. This extraordinary book, with its beautiful illuminated images, will stay with me."
"Review" by , "Mira Bartók’s harrowing and beautiful tale of growing up with her paranoid schizophrenic mother is in some ways a memoir about memory itself. For Bartók — suffering from a brain injury and raised by someone who had tenuous contact with the external world — the question “what really happened” takes on a particular urgency. She answers it with painstaking honesty, weaving deft parallels between domestic and institutional abuse, individual and national trauma. And as she recalls the shattering experiences of her childhood, literally illuminating them with her haunting mnemonic paintings, something that was never intact is made resonantly whole again."
"Review" by , "Richly textured, compassionate and heartbreaking."
"Review" by , "Poignant, powerful, disturbing, and exceedingly well-written, this is an unforgettable memoir of loss and recovery, love and forgiveness. (Starred Review)"
"Review" by , "Neither sensational nor cagily sentimental nor self pitying, this grounded, exquisitely written work...requires reading."
"Review" by , "On all counts, it’s an engrossing read."
"Review" by , "Bartók...always believed her mother's sweetness endured...somewhere beneath the madness; she rediscovered that sweetness on her mother's deathbed. Her remarkable memoir compels us to consider that it must exist in others who have fallen outside the clutch of normalcy, too."
"Review" by , "Like the cabinet of wonders that is a frequent motif here, Bartók's memory palace contains some rare, distinctive and genuinely imaginative treasures."
"Synopsis" by , A gorgeous memoir about the 17-year estrangement of the author and her homeless schizophrenic mother, and their reunion.
"Synopsis" by , “ People have abandoned their loved ones for much less than you’ve been through,” Mira Bartók is told at her mother’s memorial service. It is a poignant observation about the relationship between Mira, her sister, and their mentally ill mother. Before she was struck with schizophrenia at the age of nineteen, beautiful piano protégé Norma Herr had been the most vibrant personality in the room. She loved her daughters and did her best to raise them well, but as her mental state deteriorated, Norma spoke less about Chopin and more about Nazis and her fear that her daughters would be kidnapped, murdered, or raped.

When the girls left for college, the harassment escalated—Norma called them obsessively, appeared at their apartments or jobs, threatened to kill herself if they did not return home. After a traumatic encounter, Mira and her sister were left with no choice but to change their names and sever all contact with Norma in order to stay safe. But while Mira pursued her career as an artist—exploring the ancient romance of Florence, the eerie mysticism of northern Norway, and the raw desert of Israel—the haunting memories of her mother were never far away.

Then one day, Mira’s life changed forever after a debilitating car accident. As she struggled to recover from a traumatic brain injury, she was confronted with a need to recontextualize her life—she had to relearn how to paint, read, and interact with the outside world. In her search for a way back to her lost self, Mira reached out to the homeless shelter where she believed her mother was living and discovered that Norma was dying.

Mira and her sister traveled to Cleveland, where they shared an extraordinary reconciliation with their mother that none of them had thought possible. At the hospital, Mira discovered a set of keys that opened a storage unit Norma had been keeping for seventeen years. Filled with family photos, childhood toys, and ephemera from Norma’s life, the storage unit brought back a flood of previous memories that Mira had thought were lost to her forever.

The Memory Palace is a breathtaking literary memoir about the complex meaning of love, truth, and the capacity for forgiveness among family. Through stunning prose and original art created by the author in tandem with the text, The Memory Palace explores the connections between mother and daughter that cannot be broken no matter how much exists—or is lost—between them.

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