Pure Flame: A Legacy
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About the Author
Michelle Orange is the author of the essay collection This Is Running for Your Life, named a best book of 2013 by The New Yorker. Her writing has appeared in publications including The New Yorker, Harper's Magazine, The New York Times, Bookforum, McSweeney's, and the Virginia Quarterly Review, where she is a contributing editor. She teaches in the graduate writing programs at Goucher College and Columbia University. data-fwclientid=b2d4aa1b-93f6-442a-92ab-0ec2cadaa3a7 data-preservehtmlbullets=1 data-allowlists=0 data-crlfsubmit=1 autocomplete=off autocorrect=off autocapitalize=off spellcheck=false class=field_input_main field_input_copytext field_input_copytext_body copytextheight-normal field_input_disabled fieldkeycheck-setup copytext-setup contenteditable=false style=box-sizing: border-box; padding: 3px; margin: 0px; border-bottom: 1px solid rgb(204, 204, 204); border-bottom-left-radius: 5px; border-bottom-right-radius: 5px; border-collapse: separate; border-left: 1px solid rgb(204, 204, 204); border-right: 1px solid rgb(204, 204, 204); font-family: verdana, tahmoma, sans-serif; font-size: 10px; font-variant-numeric: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; line-height: normal; outline: none; width: 289px; overflow-y: auto; display: inline-block; background-color: rgb(238, 238, 238); height: 100px;>Michelle Orange is the author of the essay collection This Is Running for Your Life, named a best book of 2013 by The New Yorker. Her writing has appeared in publications including The New Yorker, Harper's Magazine, The New York Times, Bookforum, McSweeney's, and the Virginia Quarterly Review, where she is a contributing editor. She teaches in the graduate writing programs at Goucher College and 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