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Publisher's Summary

An Instant New York Times Best Seller

New York Times Notable Book 

One of Barack Obama's Favorite Books of 2020

Named One of the Best Books of the Year by: Washington Post, NPR, Shelf Awareness, Esquire, Electric Literature, Slate, The Los Angeles Times, USA Today, and InStyle

A chillingly personal and exquisitely wrought memoir of a daughter reckoning with the brutal murder of her mother at the hands of her former stepfather, and the moving, intimate story of a poet coming into her own in the wake of a tragedy.

At age 19, Natasha Trethewey had her world turned upside down when her former stepfather shot and killed her mother. Grieving and still new to adulthood, she confronted the twin pulls of life and death in the aftermath of unimaginable trauma and now explores the way 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 and through her own girlhood as a “child of miscegenation” in Mississippi, Trethewey plumbs her sense of dislocation and displacement in the lead-up 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 white racism and domestic 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.

©2020 Natasha Trethewey (P)2020 HarperCollins Publishers

What listeners say about Memorial Drive

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poetic

I was unfamiliar with Natasha's work prior to listening so was pleasantly surprised with the way this book is read as if it was poetry. She makes beautiful analogies with motherhood and relationships that are haunting knowing the outcome of her Mother's fate. Absolutely one of my favorite Author Read Audiobooks. I highly recommend to anyone who is intrigued with True Crime but doesn't want a gory, overly detailed book.

24 people found this helpful

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I really wanted to love it but

Being on top of so many best of 2020 lists I had high expectations. It is a very sad story full of racial injustices and heartbreaking details . But there was no good continuity to the story, moving here and there and not exactly pulling me in. There was no real character development and as a story telling it felt that the main characters were “perfect’ or evil. Of course it is a memoir so it is tainted by perceptions, I just felt that there is always room for gray. The author is the narrator but it may have been better is an actor performed it. Again, it could not pull me in.

23 people found this helpful

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In the author’s own voice: profound, haunting, eloquent

I heard the author interviewed on Fresh Air and immediately looked to see if she had narrated her own book. NT’s message is felt in each knowing inflection.

Profound. Haunting. Eloquent. A book that gives meaning through metaphor to a wound that never heals. This is a book to which I will repeatedly return.

23 people found this helpful

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A gift - Absolutely riveting

I can’t thank the author enough for sharing her story... so beautifully written so important to hear.

20 people found this helpful

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Masterpiece

This is simply beautiful, both the story and the narration. It’s a deeply painful and traumatic story told with so much love. Every word seems perfectly chosen and yet it reads effortlessly. I was captivated by this. Thank you, Natasha, for sharing your story.

17 people found this helpful

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Deeply Beautiful, Startlingly Vulnerable

Where to begin....

The writing alone is so perceptive, articulate and eloquent (no surprise from a poet laureate).

Beyond the prose lays a beguiling quality of fearless vulnerability that I still have trouble reconciling. But I love that.

Lastly her voice....so intelligent, removed, present, emotional, conflicted and pure. I'm a very skeptical person and there is not a word or syllable that I doubt from Natasha Trethewey.

12 people found this helpful

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A Haunting Soliloquy

This is the first book in a while I have completed reading in one sitting. Natasha intertwines her poetic skills in this memoir to formulate it in a style I do not recall reading before. It is not an offering about simply spousal abuse, but also an adult and accomplished daughter's purging. Well written and the author's narration gives it more depth as her style of writing is absent of the vivid harshness. She urges the listener to simply observe. I was really moved by her point of view, how she took in her mother's struggles of spousal abuse. Recalled from memory, pieces of paper, Natasha weaves this story in such a way as to make it memorable after its final word. I loved hearing her soothing voice allowing me to not so gingerly accompany Trethewey's back to events in time which continue to haunt her. It is also a daughter's solemn tribute. There were a couple of times where she seems to introduce a person, then seemingly dart pass without giving a fuller development. However, this is her mother's story, her story. This memoir is written from a daughter's perspective, recollections, observations. Her own cleansing. For someone who has personal experience with spousal abuse, it will be somewhat familiar, a reminder. In a way, It is another entry added to a subject which in some ways still considered taboo to talk about, let alone write about and from a daughter's perspective.

11 people found this helpful

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Wow!

I love memoirs- especially ones of people who aren’t famous- and this is the best ever. Beautifully written and heartbreaking, but not sentimental. Trethewey does a beautiful job of capturing her 30 year process of making sense and finding meaning out of trauma and loss. Brilliantly constructed- a true work of art. No wonder she won a Pulitzer Prize!

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Luminous memoir luminously narrated

A riveting memoir about her mother who was killed by her husband. Highly recommended if you want to hear from a preeminent talent. I normally shy away from books narrated by the author but this one was a monumental exception. I can't wait to read more by Natasha Trethewey!

5 people found this helpful

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A Painful but Beautiful Journey

Natasha Trethewey has a graceful mastery of words and a sharp introspection that make this book worth the effort. Each painful step brings the reader closer to the inevitable tragic ending but brings the author closer to a deep understanding if not closure (“a wound that never heals”). The only criticism I have is that the two long verbatim conversations between the victim and her killer are long and tortuous. It is the only point in the book where the story seems to stall, but perhaps this was necessary for the narrative.

4 people found this helpful