The Tiger and the Cage: A Memoir of a Body in Crisis

The Tiger and the Cage: A Memoir of a Body in Crisis

by Emma Bolden
The Tiger and the Cage: A Memoir of a Body in Crisis

The Tiger and the Cage: A Memoir of a Body in Crisis

by Emma Bolden

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Overview

For readers of Susannah Cahalan’s Brain on Fire and Porochista Khakpour’s Sick, this exquisitely wrought debut memoir recounts a lifelong struggle with chronic pain and endometriosis, while speaking more broadly to anyone who’s been told “it’s all in your head”

In Catholic grade school, Emma Bolden has a strange experience with a teacher that unleashes a short-lived, persistent coughing spell—something the medical establishment will later use against her as she struggles through chronic pain and fainting spells that coincide with her menstrual cycle.

With The Tiger and the Cage, Bolden uses her own experience as the starting point for a journey through the institutional misogyny of Western medicine—from a history of labeling women “hysterical” and parading them as curiosities to a lack of information on causes or cures for endometriosis, despite more than a century of documented cases. Recounting botched surgeries and dire side effects from pharmaceuticals affecting her and countless others, Bolden speaks to the ways people are often failed by the official narratives of institutions meant to protect them.

Bolden also interrogates a narrative commonly imposed on menstruating bodies: the expected story arc of marriage and children. She interrogates her body as a painful site she must mentally escape and a countdown she hopes to beat by having a child before a hysterectomy. Only later does she find language and acceptance for her asexality and the life she needs to lead. Through all its gripping, devastating, and beautiful threads, The Tiger and the Cage says what Bolden and so many like her have needed to hear: I see you, and I believe you.






Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781593767235
Publisher: Catapult
Publication date: 10/18/2022
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 1,050,167
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.10(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

EMMA BOLDEN is the author of House Is an Enigma, medi(t)ations, and Maleficae. The recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Literary Fellowship, her work has appeared in The Norton Introduction to Literature, The Best American Poetry, The Best Small Fictions, and journals including Mississippi Review, Seneca Review, StoryQuarterly, Prairie Schooner, TriQuarterly, and Shenandoah. She is the associate editor in chief for Tupelo Quarterly.

Table of Contents

Precipitation 1

The Tiger and the Cage 49

Putting the Damage On 73

Some of Which May Not Be Reversible 137

The Tigers Come at Night 197

Without the Gorgeous Trappings 267

The Song That Has No End 287

The Ship of Theseus 329

Notes 339

References 349

Acknowledgements 351

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