Medusa Treeby Mylene Dressler
In the tradition of Amy Tan and Gloria Naylor, Dressler brings us a bold and heartfelt debut about a family of Dutch-lndonesian women who manage, despite their differences, to give one another sanctuary. Rich in culture and character.
When the narrator, twentysomething Marget, a dancer, comes to help out while Gerda, one of her two grandmothers, has knee surgery, she's not entirely motivated by family piety. She's pregnant, the affair with the baby's father is over, and, as is usual in the genre, there are matters of family history to be resolved. Admitting that she comes from a family who "don't like to name things. . . [who] prefer to keep them folded away in shut drawers," Marget soon alerts us to upcoming revelations. Fan and Gerda, her grandmothers, are of mixed Dutch and Indonesian blood, born in Indonesia when it was still a Dutch colony. Only Fan, in actuality, is Marget's blood relative. When the Japanese occupied Indonesia, Gerda, a champion tennis player and the widow of a wealthy businessman, rescued Fan and her baby daughter, Marget's mother, and kept them out of the internment camps by playing tennis for the Japanese. When the Japanese retreated and civil war broke out, Gerda and Fanby then loversand the baby fled first to Singapore, then to Holland. Fan's husband, who'd been a prisoner of war, divorced her, and then the trio immigrated to California. In the days leading up to Gerda's operation, Marget has ample time to reflect on her family's history, to observe how the women have aged, and to ponder her own situation, which she has kept secret from the family. The operation is a success, and she learns a few family secrets from an aunt that only deepen her love for Fan. Armed with the obligatory empowering insight ("the past sometimes makes an answer in the future"), Marget is now ready to have her baby.
Luminous prose isn't enough to spark a low-watt story.
- MacAdam/Cage Publishing, Incorporated
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 5.29(w) x 7.99(h) x 0.81(d)
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I had the pleasure to meet Ms. Dressler at my college, Columbus State University. She spoke to my class and answered our questions. She is very invigorating and spunky. She was kind, intelligent, and open to our interpretations of her work. I had to read The Deadwood Beetle for a class and I picked this novel up after meeting her and discussing the book with her. I love Mylene Dressler's books and this being first, it is not as great as The Deadwood Beetle. It only took a couple of days to read. I got a little bored with it at times but when I finished it, I was glad I had read it. Its a great, quick story with great description of family dynamics, our interactions with people, and relationships.
Dressler's Medusa Tree is a charming tale of the love and bonds of family that become even stronger in the face of adversity. Having had the honor of having Dressler as a teacher in college, her novel has inspired me to try and write of my own heritage and family.