Pure Flame: A Legacy


Product Details

$28.00  $25.76
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publish Date
5.5 X 8.4 X 1.0 inches | 0.85 pounds

Earn by promoting books

Earn money by sharing your favorite books through our Affiliate program.

Become an affiliate

About the Author

Michelle Orange is author of the essay collection This Is Running for Your Life, which was named a best book of 2013 by The New Yorker. Her writing has appeared in The New Yorker, Harper's, The New York Times, Slate, Bookforum, The Nation, and many other outlets. A contributing editor and columnist for the Virginia Quarterly Review, she is a faculty mentor in the graduate writing program at Goucher College and an adjunct assistant professor of writing at Columbia University.


The prismatic effect of Orange's multidimensional approach is brilliant, illuminative, and moving. --Kirkus (starred review)

In a weave of memoir, history, and reflection, Orange judiciously considers the lives of her mother and her mother's mother within the larger context of women's ongoing battles for equality and liberation . . . In gleaming prose of tensile strength, Orange considers the painful paradoxes of women's lives and mother-daughter relationships, drawing on the writings of Simone de Beauvoir, Susan Sontag, and Adrienne Rich, while tracking her seemingly indomitable mother's long-brewing lung disease and her ultimate battle between mind and body. --Booklist

In Pure Flame, Michelle Orange geniusly rewrites and reinvigorates what Adrienne Rich called 'the great unwritten story.' In doing so, she recasts the notion of maternal legacy and fills it with pointed mystery and informed sincerity. Pure Flame is a tutorial in bending creative nonfiction. --Kiese Laymon, author of Heavy: An American Memoir

The best book I've read this year, Pure Flame is both a pleasure to read and a work of high seriousness. A meditation on mothers and daughters and an unsparing, stylishly written, and profoundly loving exploration of her own relationship with her mother, the book is as original as it is powerful. To be with Orange as she reckons with each stage of her mother's life and with her own shifting assessments is to experience a joy that is at once intellectual and moral: this is a book that expands and breaks your heart, not with sentimentality but with its intelligence and compassion. --Adelle Waldman, author of The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P.

"There's an irresistible question at the center of this book: In her attempt to avoid becoming her mother, did Michelle Orange lose herself, and her mother too? The book changes as it goes around corners: a mystery novel, an inquiry, a call and response poem--Pure Flame is a provocative, meditative, funny, feminist adventure about two women trying to tell each other the stories that matter while there's still time." --Alexander Chee, author of How to Write an Autobiographical Novel

Opening Pure Flame is like stepping into a cathedral. Michelle Orange makes elaborate leaps of association and elegant sentences seem effortless to construct, but only a writer as skilled as Orange can make a reader feel like a collaborator, rather than a mere witness to the artistry. Pure Flame is as lyrical and idea-driven as it is propulsive and moving. I already can't wait to reread it. --Jeannie Vanasco, author of Things We Didn't Talk About When I Was a Girl