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Heart Berries

A Memoir
Narrated by: Rainy Fields
Length: 3 hrs and 45 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (6 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Canada Reads 2019 longlist.

National best-seller.

New York Times best-seller.

Finalist for the 2018 Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize for Nonfiction.

Finalist for the 2018 Governor General's Literary Awards.

Long-listed for the 2019 RBC Taylor Prize.

A New York Times Editor's Choice.

A Globe and Mail best book of 2018.

A CBC best book of 2018.

A Toronto Star best book of 2018.

A Walrus best book of 2018.

An NPR best book of 2018.

A Chatelaine best book of 2018.

A Bustle best book of 2018.

A GQ best book of 2018.

A Thrillist best book of 2018.

A Book Riot best book of 2018.

An Electric Lit best book of 2018.

An Entropy best book of 2018.

A Hill Times best book of 2018.

A BookPage best book of 2018.

A Library Journal best book of 2018.

A Goodreads best book of 2018.

A New York Public Library best book of 2018.

Named one of the most anticipated books of 2018 by: Chatelaine, Entertainment Weekly, ELLE, Cosmopolitan, Esquire, Huffington Post, B*tch, NYLON, BuzzFeed, Bustle, The Rumpus, and Goodreads.

Selected by Emma Watson as the Our Shared Shelf Book Club Pick for March/April 2018.   

Guileless and refreshingly honest, Terese Mailhot's debut memoir chronicles her struggle to balance the beauty of her Native heritage with the often desperate and chaotic reality of life on the reservation.

Heart Berries is a powerful, poetic memoir of a woman's coming of age on the Seabird Island Indian Reservation in British Columbia. Having survived a profoundly dysfunctional upbringing only to find herself hospitalized and facing a dual diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder and bipolar II, Terese 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.

©2018 Terese Marie Mailhot (P)2018 Doubleday Canada

Critic Reviews

"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. She writes of motherhood, loss, absence, want, suffering, love, mental illness, betrayal and survival. She does this without blinking but to say she is fearless would be to miss the point. These essays are too intimate, too absorbing, too beautifully written, but never ever too much. What Mailhot has accomplished in this exquisite book is brilliance both raw and refined, testament." (Roxane Gay)

"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)

"Heart Berries is a sledgehammer...a mixture of vulnerability and rage, sexual yearning and artistic ambition, swagger and self-mockery.... 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)

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