A memoir from the award-winning author of My Lesbian Husband, Barrie Jean Borich’s Body Geographic turns personal history into an inspired reflection on the points where place and person intersect, where running away meets running toward, and where dislocation means finding oneself.
One coordinate of Borich’s story is Chicago, the prototypical Great Lakes port city built by immigrants like her great-grandfather Big Petar, and the other is her own port of immigration, Minneapolis, the combined skylines of these two cities tattooed on Borich’s own back. Between Chicago and Minneapolis Borich maps her own Midwest, a true heartland in which she measures the distance between the dreams and realities of her own life, her family’s, and her fellow travelers’ in the endless American migration. Covering rough terrain—from the hardships of her immigrant ancestors to the travails of her often-drunk young self, longing to be madly awake in the world, from the changing demographics of midwestern cities to the personal transformations of coming out and living as a lesbian—Body Geographic is cartography of high literary order, plotting routes, real and imagined, and putting an alternate landscape on the map.
About the Author
Barrie Jean Borich is an associate professor of English at DePaul University and the author of My Lesbian Husband.
Table of Contents
LEGEND. My Body as the Middle West.
MAP 1. Geographical Solutions. A map of the Middle West, with insets past and current.
MAP 2. Alabaster City's Gleam. A body map of Chicago, with insets.
MAP 3. American Doll. A map of Hong Kong imagined, with Avenue H insets.
MAP 4. Mapping the Body Back. An overlay map, with pages illegible or missing.
TRIPTIK. On a Clear Day, Catalina. Los Angeles itinerary, with overlooks and day trips.
UNMAPPED. Cities of Possibility.
MAP 5. When We Were in the Projects. A topography of my mother's and my Chicago.
MAP 6. Navigating Jazz. A map to the end of longing, with insets of my father's and my escape.
MAP 7. Here Be Monsters. A cartography of the prairie, with overlays and panorama feature.
TRIPTIK. Waterfront Property. New Orleans itinerary, with overlooks and meanderings.
REMAPPED. City in the Middle.
LEGEND REINSCRIBED. The Middle West as My Body.
POSTMETROPOLIS. Body Geographic.
About the Maps.
Map of Acknowledgments.
What People are Saying About This
“Body Geographic is as astonishingly original as it is profoundly humane. Barrie Jean Borich writes of the body, the psyche, the land, and real life with a reach so grand and a mastery so definitive it clutches the heart. This is a beautiful, bold, blow-your-mind book.”—Cheryl Strayed, author of Wild
“Borich maps place and body, time and space, personal history and the history of the American Midwest, in prose that makes me want to follow her daring journey wherever it leads. A glorious new take on the memoir form.”—Dinty W. Moore, author of Between Panic and Desire