A daughter breaks the family silence about her mother's schizophrenia, reframing hospitalizations, paranoia, illness, and caregiving through a feminist lens.
Claire Phillips' elegantly written and unflinching memoir about her mother, an Oxford-trained lawyer diagnosed in mid-life with paranoid schizophrenia, challenges current conceptions about mental illness, relapse and recovery, as well as difficulties caring for an aging parent with a chronic disease. Told in fragments, the work also becomes a startling reflection on the evolution of feminism as seen through mother-daughter relationships.
Only with her mother's final relapse at age 73 did the author begin to tell this story, first in Black Clock magazine, an essay for which she received a Pushcart nomination and notable mention in The Best American Essays 2015.
About the Author
Claire Phillips is the author of the novella Black Market Babies and recipient of the American Academy of Poets, First Prize. Her writing has appeared in Black Clock magazine, Los Angeles Review of Books, Largehearted Boy, and MotherBoard-Vice, among other places. She was nominated for the Pushcart Prize and given a notable mention in The Best American Essays 2015. She teaches writing at CalArts, the Southern California Institute for Architecture (SCI-Arc), University of California, Irvine, and is Director of the Los Angeles Writers Reading Series at Glendale College. She holds a M.A. in Creative Writing from New York University, and a B.A. in English from San Francisco State University.
Three grown women in search of one mother. They're Siamese triplets, joined at the pinky finger, disconnected shortly after birth and each sold separately on the black market... a mystery plot [that] plays perfect backdrop for Phillips's eerie, rhythmic prose. --The New York Press
Empathic and stirringly imagined. --The Village Voice
The kind of nightmare literary thrillseekers love.... Recalling the adventure stories of Kathy Acker and the dystopian California vision of Nathanael West, Black Market Babies creates its own world from our thoroughly modern anxieties about family, sex and self. It is a dreamscape emanating from your television screen with the scan button going wild. --Ann Powers (critic for The New York Times)