Synopses & Reviews
A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
Selected by Emma Watson as the Our Shared Shelf Book Club Pick for March/April 2018
A New York Times Editor's Choice
A Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Selection
"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." The New York Times
"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... What Mailhot has accomplished in this exquisite book is brilliance both raw and refined." Roxane Gay, author of Hunger
Heart Berries is a powerful, poetic memoir of a woman's coming of age on the Seabird Island Band in the Pacific Northwest. 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 Marie Mailhot is given a notebook and begins to write her way out of trauma. The triumphant result is Heart Berries, a memorial for Mailhot's mother, a social worker and activist who had a thing for prisoners; 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, reestablishes her connection to her family, to her people, and to her place in the world.
"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 Watson, Official March/April selection for Our Shared Shelf
Named One of the Most Anticipated Books of 2018 by:
The New York Public Library
"Terese Mailhot's debut memoir, Heart Berries, is a book for women who are learning to navigate anger . . . Explicitly discussing mental health and anger as Mailhot does combats systems meant to keep us silent about our pain and internal struggles . . . Mailhot doesn't just name her pain. She shouts it, and in the process, creates a space for other American Indian women to do the same." B*tch Media
"Her story is surprising and illuminating, pushing away from traditional narratives and expected boundaries . . . Her own gift is the ability to speak the truth without fear of consequence." Guernica
"Terse and tough and fierce and honest, Mailhot is an essential new voice in the Native literary world, as well as in the world at large." Tommy Orange, GQ, 1 of the 17 Best Books of the Year
"Heart Berries is a fierce and poetic memoir that grips you from the start and never lets go...An illuminating account of grief, abuse and the complex nature of the Native experience, it is at once raw and achingly beautiful. Terese Mailhot is a truly fearless writer, and this little book is nothing short of a gift." NPR, A Best Book of the Year
About the Author
TERESE MARIE MAILHOT is from Seabird Island Band. She graduated with an MFA from the Institute of American Indian Arts. She served as Saturday Editor at The Rumpus and was a columnist at Indian Country Today. Her work appears in West Branch, Guernica, Pacific Standard, Elle, Medium, Buzzfeed, and the LA Times. She is the author of the New York Times bestselling Heart Berries: A Memoir. She serves as faculty at the Institute of American Indian Arts and she's a Tecumseh Postdoctoral Fellow at Purdue University.