2012 Oregon Book Award for Readers' Choice
This is my favorite book in the world. It has healed me and set me free in a way few books have. Lidia's writing is powerful, and full of love for those of us, as she says, who have been touched by the river of sadness. Recommended By Dano H., Powells.com
Lidia Yuknavitch's memoir, The Chronology of Water, is fierce and voluptuous. Intimate and expansive. Hard, hard stuff presented in gorgeous language. I picked it up on impulse, read the first line, and was crying before I reached the end of the opening segment. There's heartbreak in here, yes. There's rage and triumph. But what really brings tears to my eyes when I read is beauty. Recommended By Gigi L., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
This is not your mother's memoir. Lifelong swimmer and Olympic hopeful Lidia Yuknavitch accepts a college swimming scholarship in Texas in order to escape an abusive father and an alcoholic, suicidal mother. After losing her scholarship to drugs and alcohol, Lidia moves to Eugene and enrolls in the University of Oregon, where she is accepted by Ken Kesey to become one of 13 graduate students who collaboratively write the novel, Caverns, with him. Drugs and alcohol continue to flow along with bisexual promiscuity and the discovery of S&M helps ease Lidia's demons. Ultimately Lidia's career as a writer and teacher combined with the love of her husband and son replace the earlier chaos that was her life.
"Flooded with light and incandescent beauty, Lidia Yuknavitch's The Chronology of Water cuts through the heart of the reader. These fierce life stories gleam, fiery images passing just beneath the surface of the pages. You will feel rage, fear, release, and joy, and you will not be able to stop reading this deeply brave and human voice." Diana Abu-Jaber, author of Origin: A Novel
"[The Chronology of Water is] about the body, brain, and soul of a woman who has managed to scratch up through the slime and concrete and crap of life in order to resurrect herself. The kind of book Janis Joplin might have written if she had made it through the fire — raw, tough, pure, more full of love than you thought possible and sometimes even hilarious. This is the book Lidia Yuknavitch was put on the planet to write for us." Rebecca Brown, author of The Gifts of the Body
"This intensely powerful memoir touches depths yet unheard of in contemporary writing. I read it at one sitting and wondered for days after about love, time, and truth. Can't get me any more excited than this." Andrei Codrescu, author of The Poetry Lesson
"Lidia Yuknavitch's memoir The Chronology of Water is a brutal beauty bomb and a true love song. Rich with story, alive with emotion, both merciful and utterly merciless, I am forever altered by every stunning page. This is the book I'm going to press into everyone's hands for years to come. This is the book I've been waiting to read all of my life." Cheryl Strayed, author of Torch
About the Author
Lidia Yuknavitch is the author of three works of short fiction: Her Other Mouths, Liberty's Excess, and Real to Reel, as well as a book of literary criticism, Allegories of Violence. Her work has appeared in Ms., The Iowa Review, Exquisite Corpse, Another Chicago Magazine, Fiction International, Zyzzyva, and elsewhere. Her book Real to Reel was a finalist for the Oregon Book Award and she is the recipient of awards and fellowships from Poets and Writers and Literary Arts, Inc. Her work appears in the anthologies Life as We Show It (City Lights), Forms at War (FC2), Wreckage of Reason (Spuytin Duyvil). She teaches writing, literature, film, and Women's Studies in Oregon. Her first novel is forthcoming from Hawthorne Books.