Heart Berries achieves that most elusive and sacred goal of literature, to make us feel less alone in the world. With a beautiful and original voice, Mailhot applies the precision of the poet to her prose. Each sentence feels necessary, each paragraph vital, as she grapples with daughterhood, motherhood, sisterhood, wifehood, and finally, selfhood. Mailhot has distilled experience for her readers. Her memoir is metered out, fed to us in deliberate and measured doses. This is careful, crafted literature, the disciplined work of a masterful artist.
Heart Berries is a book written against forgetting, against losing self to the needs and desires of others. It is the kind of writing that has the power to make us all forgive ourselves and to teach us that we each must take up our space in this world. To occupy our given space is our duty and I am thankful that Mailhot does so here.
–Tina Ontiveros, Klindt’s Booksellers, The Dalles, OR
Heart Berries is a slender jewel of a memoir written by a wholly original and unexpected new voice. I have never read anyone like Terese Marie Mailhot–each page delivers new and delightful ways to play with words and sentence structure, in an extremely natural and organic way (nothing overwritten or precious here). It doesn’t feel like it was written so much as physically extracted from her body like a root, gnarled and dirty and honest and beautiful. I cried, and laughed, and never wanted it to end. I can’t wait to see what she does next.
–Leah Cushman, Powell’s Books, Portland, OR
Terese Mailhot delivers one of the most poetic and heartbreaking memoirs I have read this year. Her prose and form take the typical memoir and turn it on its head. Unsurprisingly, she was one of Sherman Alexie’s students, and shows the same inventiveness of style. Heart Berries is a beautiful and painful ode to struggles as a Native woman. I treasured Mailhot’s words and ability to openly share her unique yet universal struggles as an indigenous person.”
–Kate Laubernds, Powell’s Books, Portland, OR
This is not ordinarily the sort of book I pick up, but I found it powerful and disturbing and heart-wrenching to read. Mailhot writes her madness in an extraordinarily compelling way, one that viscerally portrays the abuse and trauma at the heart of her story. Every time I went to put it down, I found myself compelled to pick it up again.
–Jenny Craig, librarian, Seattle Public Library
In a time of memoirs that help a reader understand vulnerability and the experience of facing down fear, Terese Marie Mailhot’s cathartic, moving Heart Berries is one of the bravest and most fearless of such books. Her coming-of-age on a First Nation reservation, Seabird Island in Canada, is particular to that vividly evoked place, but also carries larger, universal lessons for the human spirit and its survival. A necessary book.
— Rick Simonson, Elliott Bay Book Company, Seattle, WA
Terese Marie Mailhot will appear at Elliott Bay Book Company Thursday, February 8 at 7:00 pm.