Hemlock
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Hemlock

4.14 (7 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

A compelling work of autobiographical fiction, Helene Cixous's Hemlock weaves tragedy and comedy in its exploration of various human attachments: between an elderly but still truculent mother and her writer-daughter, between the mother and her sister, and between the writer and her vanished but nonetheless intensely present friend, Jacques Derrida, whose death is movingly evoked. "Here," she says in her preface, "the criss-crossing paths of my mother and my aunt will come to an end at last. When one old flower is left, what becomes of the other face?" Socrates is conjured up, along with the poisonous plants of Hamlet, the human comedies of Balzac and Proust, and other literary and philosophical ghosts who find themselves drawn into the fabric of Cixous's text: "I'm not sleeping," writes the protagonist. "A worm is drilling my brain. It's a phrase I heard in the hellish juice of the jusquiame. I pour it into my own ear. I'm afraid Mama will die'." In this new work Helene Cixous continues to explore and expand the boundaries of narrative, slipping from thought to thought and from image to image, so as to render every action, fear and thought palpable to the reader.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 192 pages
  • 142 x 212 x 22mm | 358.34g
  • Polity Press
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • black & white illustrations
  • 0745648673
  • 9780745648675

Review quote

"Focuses on the relationship between Cixous and her mother, gradually building a picture of the painful ambivalence that children experience as they witness their parents' decline. The text forms a patchwork quilt of anecdotes that weave together domesticity and philosophy." Times Literary Supplement "Love and death battle subtly and ceaselessly in this tenderly dramatic, funny, domestic book. Told by a daughter doing all she can not to anticipate the death of her much-loved mother, fiction joins forces with flowers and animals, philosophy and the act of writing itself to affirm life in the teeth of loss." Sarah Wood, University of Kent "Beverly Bie Brahic's beautifully-crafted translation succeeds in capturing the distinctive music and haunting tonality of the original along with its rich web of meaning - this is a wonderful addition to the growing body of works by Cixous available in English" Mairead Hanrahan, University College Londonshow more

Back cover copy

A compelling work of autobiographical fiction, Helene Cixous's Hemlock weaves tragedy and comedy in its exploration of various human attachments: between an elderly but still truculent mother and her writer-daughter, between the mother and her sister, and between the writer and her vanished but nonetheless intensely present friend, Jacques Derrida, whose death is movingly evoked. "Here," she says in her preface, "the criss-crossing paths of my mother and my aunt will come to an end at last. When one old flower is left, what becomes of the other face?" Socrates is conjured up, along with the poisonous plants of Hamlet, the human comedies of Balzac and Proust, and other literary and philosophical ghosts who find themselves drawn into the fabric of Cixous's text: "I'm not sleeping," writes the protagonist. "A worm is drilling my brain. It's a phrase I heard in the hellish juice of the jusquiame. I pour it into my own ear. 'I'm afraid Mama will die'." In this new work Helene Cixous continues to explore and expand the boundaries of narrative, slipping from thought to thought and from image to image, so as to render every action, fear and thought palpable to the reader.show more

About Helene Cixous

Helene Cixous is one of the world's leading writers. She is founder and former director of the Centre de Recherches en Etudes Feminines at Paris VIII University.show more

Table of contents

Mama's Not in Mama - There's Someone Else In Which Country? Henbane Put Me a Ghost at the Embarcadero The Vitrine Two Slices of Life Hemlock Cousin Deafness The Jerk Get, Gotcha To Have To Lose The Blue Notebook Eri Goes On Ahead Translator's Postface Notesshow more

Rating details

7 ratings
4.14 out of 5 stars
5 43% (3)
4 43% (3)
3 0% (0)
2 14% (1)
1 0% (0)
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