by Natasha Trethewey
August 2020 – Ecco (US)
At age nineteen, Natasha Trethewey’s world was turned upside-down when her former stepfather shot and killed her mother. Grieving and still new to adulthood, she confronts the twin pulls of life and death in the aftermath of unimaginable trauma and the way that this experience lastingly shaped the artist she became.
With penetrating insight and a searing voice that moves from the wrenching to the elegiac, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Natasha Trethewey explores this profound experience of pain, loss, and grief as an entry point into understanding the tragic course of her mother’s life and the way her own life has been shaped by a legacy of fierce love and resilience. Moving through her mother’s history in the deeply segregated South through her own childhood as a “child of miscegenation” in Mississippi, Trethewey plumbs her sense of dislocation and displacement, all of which lead to the harrowing crime that took place on Memorial Drive in Atlanta in 1985.
MEMORIAL DRIVE is a compelling and searching look at a shared human experience of sudden loss and absence, but also a piercing glimpse at the enduring ripple effects of race violence and systemic abuse. Animated by unforgettable prose and inflected by a poet’s attention to language, this is a luminous, urgent, and visceral memoir from one of our most important contemporary writers and thinkers.
Natasha Trethewey is a former U.S. poet laureate and the author of five collections of poetry as well as a book of creative non-fiction. She is currently the Board of Trustees Professor of English at Northwestern University. In 2007, she won the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry for her collection NATIVE GUARD.