Black Chameleon: Memory, Womanhood, and Myth

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Product Details
$27.99  $26.03
Henry Holt & Company
Publish Date
5.4 X 8.5 X 1.2 inches | 0.85 pounds

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About the Author
Deborah D.E.E.P. Mouton is an internationally-known, writer, director, performer, critic and the first Black Poet Laureate of Houston, Texas. She is the author of the 2019 poetry collection Newsworthy, which was a finalist for the The Writer's League of Texas Book Award and Honorable Mention in the Summerlee Book Prize. Her poems have garnered her a Pushcart nomination and have been translated into multiple languages. She has been a contributing writer for Glamour, Texas Monthly, Muzzle, and ESPN's Andscape. Her work ranges from writing stage plays and librettos for operas such as Marian's Song to storytelling through film. She currently resides in Houston, Texas.

Southern Review of Books, The Best Southern Books of March 2023
Poets & Writers, Page One Featured Pick
Cosmopolitan, Get Lit Featured Pick

"Her homage to Black womanhood has resulted in a work of art that defies categorization. Freed from facts by the transcendence of truth, Mouton has created an inventive genre-amalgamating form of myth, memoir and metaphor that sings . . ."
--New York Times Book Review

"Mouton transforms the Black women in her life into legends in this moving, genre-bending memoir. Her way of writing will have you rereading the pages as you continue to unlock and appreciate more and more of her work. It's hard to create something unique in the book world, but Mouton does so successfully."
--Cosmopolitan, "30 Best Books of 2023 (So Far)"

"Black Chameleon interweaves mythology, family history, and marvelous realism, pushing the definition of memoir, but accurately demonstrating the possibilities inherent to a new form. This is the story of one Black woman in America, but Mouton accomplishes so much more."
--Boston Globe

"Black Chameleon: Memory, Womanhood, and Myth bends the definition memoir by combining stories of growing up a Black woman in America with elements of the fantastical . . . in order to create something missing for many African Americans."
--Houston Matters, NPR

"This is a loving memoir, lyrically and uniquely written . . . An ode to Black womanhood, it explores the complexities, depths, pains, joys and brilliance of living your truth."
--Ms. Magazine

"It is certainly a book to be reread and is a powerful, enlightening memoir by an exquisite wordsmith."
--Southern Review of Books

"Black Chameleon is a memoir, but unlike any you've ever read before. Deborah D.E.E.P. Mouton reflects on her childhood in a lyrical form that makes it just as much a poem as a reflection on the Black woman's experience in America."
--Angela Johnson, The Root

"Black Chameleon feels like a monumental shift in how we make books about memory & myth. The writing here is at once exquisite, and rigorous, while the ideas splinter beautifully into intersecting quadrants of black womanhood. This is a genre shifting book."
--Kiese Laymon, author of Heavy: An American Memoir

"Black Chameleon catches the light and adapts to it, ever more gloriously showing us to ourselves. Mouton's mysticism and magic is the birthright and survival of all Black women while being uniquely her own. This book kept showing me new shades of freedom."
--Sonya Renee Taylor, author of the New York Times bestseller The Body is Not An Apology

"Honest, wise, and graced with aching beauty, Black Chameleon redefines what a memoir can be. Mouton tells a new story of Black womanhood by braiding personal history with folklore. The end result is nothing less than literary alchemy."
--Zain E. Asher, CNN International Anchor and author of Where the Children Take Us

"Black Chameleon is a generous portal of a book, which allows a reader access to a rich population, of not just people, and not just geographies, and not just the spiritual, but also, the book is populated with an ever-present consideration of mercy. Mercy for the self, and for others. I emerged from this book overwhelmed with gratitude."
--Hanif Abdurraqib, author of A Little Devil in America

"Black Chameleon fuses legend and memory to create a startling work in the tradition of Audre Lorde's biomythography and Lynda Barry's 100 Demons. Mouton's determination to lead a life fulfilled by poetry, love, and Black female strength makes this a gripping read. Candid and illuminating."
--Carolyn Ferrell, author of Dear Miss Metropolitan

"Her prose crackles as she fuses fables with stories to create a spirited portrait of Black American womanhood. . . . Throughout, Mouton honors and complicates her heritage while seeking to understand her place within it: '[Some] would tell you that this is why you must work twice as hard to get half as much. But I know that half is not the holy grail. Tell a half-full belly that it is satisfied and see how it grumbles. I did not come from the wombs of half-baked women.' The writing is unconventional and exquisite, and sure to enthrall readers of Jesmyn Ward."
--Publishers Weekly

"The book is lyrical, tender, and generous, celebrating the beauty of the oppressed with wildly imaginative and artfully rendered prose. . . . This innovative mix of myth and nonfiction is a pleasure to read. A formally inventive celebration of Black womanhood."
--Kirkus Reviews