Possessing the Secret of Joy

Possessing the Secret of Joy

Book - 2008
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Baker & Taylor
Severely traumatized after suffering genital mutilation in her native Africa, Tashi Johnson spends much of her adult life in North America seeking help through psychoanalysis and desperate to regain the ability to feel.

Perseus Publishing

From the author the New York Times Book Review calls “a lavishly gifted writer,” this is the searing story of Tashi, a tribal African woman first glimpsed in The Color Purple whose fateful decision to submit to the tsunga’s knife and be genitally mutilated leads to a trauma that informs her life and fatefully alters her existence. Possessing the Secret of Joy, out of print for a number of years, was the first novel to deal with this controversial topic and managed to do so in a manner that Cosmopolitan called “masterful, honorable, and unforgettable storytelling.” The New Press is proud to bring the book back into print with a new preface by the author addressing the book’s initial reception and the changed attitudes toward female genital mutilation that have come about in part because of this book.



Publisher: New York : New Press, c2008
ISBN: 9781595583642
1595583645
Branch Call Number: FICTION WALKER
Characteristics: 286 p. ; 21 cm

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pridi_o
Mar 06, 2018

Profound. Moving. Beautifully written.

s
Starpoem
Oct 19, 2017

Alice Walker is one of my favorite writers. Her writing style calls to mind the surprising phrase "complex simplicity." This book is a good example of complex simplicity: it is a quick read at under 300 pages, yet it is so poetic and so thought-provoking.

I first read Possessing the Secret of Joy when it came out in the 1990's, and I admired it for the light it shines on the traumatizing, yet culturally ingrained, practice of FGM. Now, 25 years later, FGM continues to make headlines in the news, and this novel remains relevant.

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