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She Left Me the Gun: My Mother's Life Before Me
 
 

She Left Me the Gun: My Mother's Life Before Me [Kindle Edition]

Emma Brockes
5.0 von 5 Sternen  Alle Rezensionen anzeigen (1 Kundenrezension)

Kindle-Preis: EUR 5,46 Inkl. MwSt. und kostenloser drahtloser Lieferung über Amazon Whispernet

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Produktbeschreibungen

Pressestimmen

"The riveting memoir about how a prizewinning British journalist reclaimed her mother's traumatic past... The story of Brockes’ quest to understand her mother’s past is powerful on its own, but the backdrop against which most of the narrative unfolds—a country with its own history of rapacious violence—makes the book even more poignant and unforgettable."
Kirkus

“This astonishing, unsettling book examines the relationship between knowledge and love. Vigorously unsentimental, deeply absorbing, and written with fierce wit, it is an unstinting look at what it means to be innocent, at any stage of life, and how obsessively we all seek and avoid the many faces of truth.”
     —Andrew Solomon, author of Far From the Tree and The Noonday Demon

“A beautiful, wise book. It deals with some of the grimmest aspects of human experience, but it is also one of the most genuinely uplifting works I have read in years. Emma Brockes’s superb, clear-eyed narration is an object lesson for any aspiring memoir writer. She Left Me the Gun deserves to become a classic.”
     —Zoë Heller, author of The Believers and Notes on a Scandal

“Emma Brockes sets out on a delicate journey to uncover a secret locked in the heart of her own family’s darkness. A harrowing tale of murder and incest emerges, unfolding by stages in this utterly compelling psychological memoir.”
     —John Berendt, author of The City of Falling Angels and Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil

Kurzbeschreibung

When Emma Brockes was ten years old, her mother said 'One day I will tell you the story of my life and you will be amazed.' Growing up in a tranquil English village, Emma knew very little of her mother's life before her. She knew Paula had grown up in South Africa and had seven siblings. She had been told stories about deadly snakes and hailstones the size of golf balls. There was mention, once, of a trial. But most of the past was a mystery.

When her mother dies of cancer, Emma - by then a successful journalist at the Guardian - is free to investigate the untold story. Her search begins in the Colindale library but then takes her to South Africa, to the extended family she has never met and their accounts of a childhood so different to her own.She encounters versions of the life her mother chose to leave behind - and realises what a gift her mother gave her.

Part investigation, part travelogue, part elegy, She Left Me the Gun is a gripping, funny and clear-eyed account of a writer's search for her mother's story.


Produktinformation

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • Dateigröße: 4975 KB
  • Seitenzahl der Print-Ausgabe: 352 Seiten
  • ISBN-Quelle für Seitenzahl: 0571275826
  • Verlag: Faber & Faber Non Fiction (18. März 2013)
  • Verkauf durch: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ASIN: B00B72L0RM
  • Text-to-Speech (Vorlesemodus): Aktiviert
  • X-Ray:
  • Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 5.0 von 5 Sternen  Alle Rezensionen anzeigen (1 Kundenrezension)
  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: #43.812 Bezahlt in Kindle-Shop (Siehe Top 100 Bezahlt in Kindle-Shop)

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5.0 von 5 Sternen She Left Me the Gun 5. November 2013
Von Critical
Format:Kindle Edition|Verifizierter Kauf
Ein hervorrragendes und ergreifendes Buch.
Es dauert zwar bis man alle Puzzleteile der Vergangenheit zusammen hat und manchmal ist es auich schwierig die Personen auseinanderzuhalten, aber in diesem Fall stört es nicht, da es das Buch noch lebensechter macht.
War diese Rezension für Sie hilfreich?
Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.8 von 5 Sternen  107 Rezensionen
29 von 29 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Chilling story set in South Africa 30. April 2013
Von Susan Blumberg-Kason - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Vine Kundenrezension eines kostenfreien Produkts (Was ist das?)
I read this story in less than two days. The writing is beautiful, the pace of the story is quick, and descriptions of South Africa are alluring. I knew it would be about a family tragedy, and after reading it I can't imagine what could be worse. The author's mother left South Africa at a young age to start over in England. She marries, has a child, and lives a quaint life in the English countryside. No one could possibly know the secrets that she hides, not even her husband and daughter. After her mother passes away, the author travels to South Africa to find out why her mother left and never returned. This book is not for the faint hearted, but it's a human story and one that is often locked away in shame and disgust. I give Emma Brockes huge credit for sharing her mother's story and for maybe helping others who might be facing devastation.
13 von 13 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen The Dead Live in our Hearts 2. Juni 2013
Von Ian Kaplan - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Vine Kundenrezension eines kostenfreien Produkts (Was ist das?)
Journalists and talented writers are not like most of us: they can write about their lives and their families and make it interesting reading. Emma Brockes is a Journalist and a talented writer and "She Left me the Gun" is an engaging book.

Emma Brockes' mother died of cancer at an earlier age than most people expect to die in our modern world. The dead live on in our hearts. Writing "She Left me the Gun" was a way for Emma to keep her mother in her heart and to bring her life into focus. All stories that we tell are also about ourselves, so the book was also a way for Emma to bring herself into focus.

Emma's mother, Paula, had Emma later in life. Emma comments that several of her Mother's friends thought that Emma would be a spoiled brat, because of how much her mother focused on Emma. As it turned out, Emma didn't turn out to be a brat. She may have been a core of her Mother's life, but her Mother was tough and was determined to raise a tough daughter.

One reason that many people do a poor job of writing about themselves or their families is that they do not structure the story like a three act play: with a start middle and end. Emma Brockes has this talent and has rendered the story in elegant english.

Emma's Mother, Paula, grew up in South Africa and emigrated to England when she was 22. She was fleeing a father that she had charged with the rape of her sisters. Her father was brought to trial, but was not convicted.

A strange thing about alcoholic pedophiles, which is what Emma's Grandfather was, is that they all seem to follow the same secret script that only monsters are issued. The story of Emma's Grandfather, Jimmy, is a tragically familiar one that plays out repeatedly through the eons of humanity.

Growing up Emma always knew that there was some dark past in South Africa that her mother talked about only tangentially. "She Left me the Gun" is about how this story unfolded as Emma tried to discovered it.

Paula was tough, a level beyond the British "stiff upper lip". She never saw herself as a victim. Although this book is the story of a monster who warped the lives of all of his children, it is not in the genre of victim literature. There's no pop psychology or attempt to explain why Jimmy was a monster. Emma Brockes realizes an important truth: when it comes to people, there are no reasons. In the end they just are who they are.

The drama in "She Left me the Gun" comes from Emma's discovery of Paula's story and that story of her family. She travels to South Africa to meet her aunts, uncles and cousins. South Africa itself also provides part of the drama, with its dark history and crime ridden present.

The quality of Emma Brockes writing makes the story readable, but the story that emerges is not a driving narrative. This is not Schindler's List. Rather than being "a story of a woman who overcame a terrible background" this is a story of a strong women who survived, as many others have. Sadly this is a story that is all too common, but its common nature is also what allows "She Left Me the Gun" to connect with the reader.
17 von 18 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Lay that pistol down, babe 3. Juni 2013
Von S. Berner - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Vine Kundenrezension eines kostenfreien Produkts (Was ist das?)
Okay, the first thing you need to remember about this heart-stoppingly marvelous book is that it's a memoir.

This is important, because it READS like some kind of wonderfully intense novel.

Paula, Emma Brockes' mother, (who, by the way, DIDN'T leave her the gun) is one of the great literary characters of the past decade.

The fact that she is... was... no, IS, a real person who walked and talked with other real people. The fact that some... all too many... of them, might well have been "real", but had a tenuous grasp on "peoplehood" is irrelevant.

This is a story FILLED with all that is ugly and reprehensible in what we are sometimes ashamed to call the human race.

And yet.

It is one of the most uplifting books I have read.

Because, ultimately, it is about the two most important things there are.

No matter how it is expressed; no matter what curves, twists, turns, may obscure it; when it is there... and it is profoundly real, as it is here; NOTHING is more moving than the human spirit and a mother's love.

I love this book!
8 von 8 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
3.0 von 5 Sternen Sags during the middle 24. Mai 2013
Von Neal C. Reynolds - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Vine Kundenrezension eines kostenfreien Produkts (Was ist das?)
Actually, this basically is a good book, heartfelt and for a memoir holds a certain amount of suspense. Unfortunately, there's a lot of unnecessary detail and unimportant incidents related in the central third of the book, and the inclination may well be to skim through a few chapters. It is a readable book and well worth reading even with a bit of a clunky midsection.
9 von 10 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Sharply-written memoir of a daughter discovering her mother's past 13. Juni 2013
Von Carol S. - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Vine Kundenrezension eines kostenfreien Produkts (Was ist das?)
Memoirs are a tricky business. When the life being explored contains dysfunction or tragedy, it's tough to relate the dark parts without getting mired in self-pity or making the book too dark and grim. The subject of the book must have sufficient depth to carry the weight of an entire book and all that self-examination. And the reader has to like the voice of the narrator and feel some common ground with her approach to life. Luckily "She Left Me The Gun" succeeds at balancing all of these challenges; it's a sharply-written, entertaining and ultimately uplifting look at the author's mother, in particular her mother's childhood and young adulthood in South Africa.

Emma Brockes is a successful journalist in Britain. Her mother was born and lived for the first twenty-some years of her life in South Africa; she then emigrated to Britain, eventually marrying and having one child. While her mother Paula often alluded to her difficult past, like so many survivors of awful things she found herself unable to talk about the details with her daughter. After Paula dies at a relatively young age from cancer, her daughter decides to find out more about the first half of her mother's life. She travels to South Africa and meets her mother's family and friends, does research at the Pretoria courthouse, and travels to various places that were significant in her mother's life. She learns that her grandfather was a violent alcoholic who sexually abused his daughters, Paula included. What Brockes so skillfully does is not simply dwell on the hideous aspects of her mother's upbringing, but take us on the journey that she took: untangling the threads of her mother's past, seeing how Paula re-invented herself when she came to England, how she built a new life through her own strength and desire for something better, and also what she left behind in South Africa, not just the awful memories but also the beauty of the landscape and the love of her siblings.

Why did I like this book so much?
1. The author's voice and quality of writing. She is a fine writer, with an economy of style and a penchant for turning wry phrases. She never fails to see the absurdity or humor in life, whether getting mugged in the street or at a cocktail party in South Africa or while reminiscing about her childhood.

2. Her mother's character. Multifaceted, strong, funny, a survivor, intelligent and hearing Brockes talk about her makes you really wish you could meet her.

3. Elegant, restrained approach to the family's dirty laundry. No wallowing in icky detail, no overwrought passages or none-too-subtle appeals for pity. Matter of fact, but with great compassion.

4. Ultimately uplifting feel. Even though Brockes' grandfather is a beast and does unspeakable things to his kids (and reading even the author's restrained descriptions is tough), Brockes vividly portrays the love that held the siblings together, in particular the loving influence her mother had, and her affection for the people who appear in the book (save her grandfather) makes the book transcend the grim parts.

It's a pretty fast read and it's mesmerizing. I highly recommend it.
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