The Riddle Song and Other Rememberings (Paperback)
University of Georgia Press, 9780820345932, 208pp.
Publication Date: December 1, 2012
In this ensemble of beautifully personal, interrelated essays, writer and poet Rebecca McClanahan weaves together threads of stories and common experiences to create a meditation on family life. She explores the familiar rituals, the shared dreams, and the guarded secrets that tie family together as she unravels the mysteries behind familial relationships. Throughout, McClanahan seeks to identify what it means to be an individual within the context of kinship and unexpected connections.
Besides navigating her own emotional landscape and her family's, McClanahan revisits the physical places of her childhood, adolescence, and adulthood. She takes us to the military bases where her father and husband were stationed, to the cemeteries she loved as both child and adult, and to the various hospitals and homes that served as backdrops for family crises and celebrations. Without sentimentality, she considers the meaning of losses--the loss of a child, a family home, and a family pet, and a lost chance at motherhood.
Partly fashioned around the lines of the folk tune "The Riddle Song," The Riddle Song and Other Rememberings captures the palpable bonds that exist between mothers, daughters, fathers, siblings, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and grandparents. Through intuitive and exquisite language, Rebecca McClanahan reveals the strange and enchanting patterns that connect her to these ancestral souls.