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The Seasons: Death and Transfiguration
     

The Seasons: Death and Transfiguration

by Jo Sinclair
 

As a novelist concerned with issues of gender, social class, and ethnicity, Jo Sinclair has won coveted literary prizes and a devoted following. Now in this extraordinary memoir, she relates a tale as fascinating and moving as any work of fiction.

In this unique instance of Sinclair's storytelling, she tells the story of her Jewish working-class life through the

Overview

As a novelist concerned with issues of gender, social class, and ethnicity, Jo Sinclair has won coveted literary prizes and a devoted following. Now in this extraordinary memoir, she relates a tale as fascinating and moving as any work of fiction.

In this unique instance of Sinclair's storytelling, she tells the story of her Jewish working-class life through the prism of an intense relationship with a middle-class Anglo married women, into whose house she moves so that she might write her books. Helen Buchman gives Sinclair a room of her own and persuades her to eschew alcohol for gardening and to believe in herself.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A story of the dailiness of two women's lives, The Seasons is thick with fragile rhythms—of gardens and conversations, work and love. Jo Sinclair's cross-class memoir is a working-class Kaddish, a mournful praise song, not of loss, but of the courage of honest continuation." — Janet Zandy, editor of Calling Home: Working Class Women's Writings

"Jo Sinclair's The Seasons tells us much about the writing life, the mental and material processes involved in being a writer, as well as embodying and reflecting on its own successive transformations from the journal record to the final art of autobiographical text. In its testimony to friendship, it is also an expression of biography as autobiography. Detailing her friend's illness and death, Sinclair offers a scrupulously detailed record of the body in pain. At the same time, she transcribes her own agony and witnesses too the redemptive powers of nature and art." — Barbara Shollar, editor of Longman Anthology of World Literature by Women, 1875-1975

"Jo Sinclair's memoir is a powerful, moving, carefully woven, and important work. It is a book for and about Helen Buchman, the woman who provided water, light, and nutrients for the seeds of a young woman to grow into a writer and a soul. This is also the story of Ruth Seid-Jo Sinclair who was that young woman and of the relationship between Helen and Jo. It is, moreover, and perhaps essentially, a book about gardening—literal and metaphoric—and the seasons of nature and of life." — Nancy Porter, former editor of Women's Studies Quarterly

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The opening section, ``Some Biographical Notes on the Author (by the Author),'' gives the first taste of the self-conscious tone employed in this overwritten and unrevealing autobiography. Now in her late 70s, the author of The Changelings and other novels offers up a journal focusing on the later part of her life, particularly her self-doubt after the death of her mentor, Helen Buchman, a middle-class housewife and mother who took her in and encouraged her writing. The relationship between the two remains cloudy: the journal contains more information about Buchman's garden than about the women's emotional connection. Sinclair often touches on interesting issues but only in passing. She mentions that Buchman taught her the manners and niceties she hadn't known as a ``peasant'' in Cleveland's Jewish ghetto, then fails to illustrate that process. Only in the final pages of the book does she discuss her alcoholism and make a glancing reference to ``that suicide thing I went through.'' Sentence fragments punctuated by exclamatory comments do little to convey a sense of the literary life besides the cycle of work, rejection and acceptance that writing for publication entails. (Sept.)
Library Journal
Sinclair is the pseudonym of Ruth Seid, born in 1913 to Russian Jewish immigrant parents. The Seasons is the story of her friendship with Helen Buchman, who takes Ruth in, nurtures her, and encourages her writing during the 1940s and 1950s. When Helen dies in 1963, Ruth struggles to rebuild her life and her writing career. Most of this book takes the form of a journal, written as a sort of catharsis, which recounts daily events around the time of Helen's death. Ruth's intense need to write is vividly described, as well as her personal journey from the Jewish ghetto to middle-class life in the country outside Cleveland. Recommended for larger public and academic libraries.-- Gwen Gregory, U.S. Courts Lib., Phoenix

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781558610569
Publisher:
Feminist Press at CUNY, The
Publication date:
02/01/1993
Series:
The Cross-Cultural Memoir Series Series
Pages:
288
Product dimensions:
5.70(w) x 8.70(h) x 1.00(d)

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