Black is the body : stories from my grandmother's time, my mother's time, and mine / by Emily Bernard.

by Bernard, Emily, 1967- [author.]Looking glass.

Publisher: New York : Knopf, 2019.Description: xiii, 218 pages ; 21 cm.ISBN: 9780451493026; 9780857527851; 9781101972410; 9781432864392.Subject(s): Bernard, Emily, 1967-Looking glass | African American womenLooking glass | African Americans -- Social conditions -- 21st century | United States -- Race relationsLooking glassAlternative form: Electronic version: Black is the body : stories from my grandmother's time, my mother's time, and mine / 9780451493033
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Enhanced descriptions from Syndetics:

"Blackness is an art, not a science. It is a paradox: intangible and visceral; a situation and a story. It is the thread that connects these essays, but its significance as an experience emerges randomly, unpredictably. . . . Race is the story of my life, and therefore black is the body of this book."

In these twelve deeply personal, connected essays, Bernard details the experience of growing up black in the south with a family name inherited from a white man, surviving a random stabbing at a New Haven coffee shop, marrying a white man from the North and bringing him home to her family, adopting two children from Ethiopia, and living and teaching in a primarily white New England college town. Each of these essays sets out to discover a new way of talking about race and of telling the truth as the author has lived it.

" Black Is the Body is one of the most beautiful, elegant memoirs I've ever read. It's about race, it's about womanhood, it's about friendship, it's about a life of the mind, and also a life of the body. But more than anything, it's about love. I can't praise Emily Bernard enough for what she has created in these pages." --Elizabeth Gilbert




Table of contents provided by Syndetics

  • Beginnings (p. xi)
  • Scar Tissue (p. 3)
  • Teaching the N-Word (p. 21)
  • Interstates (p. 45)
  • Mother on Earth (p. 70)
  • Black Is the Body (p. 84)
  • Skin (p. 98)
  • White Friend (p. 111)
  • Her Glory (p. 122)
  • Motherland (p. 137)
  • Going Home (p. 163)
  • People Like Me (p. 193)
  • Epilogue: My Turn (p. 215)
  • Acknowledgments (p. 219)

Reviews provided by Syndetics

Library Journal Review

Bernard, a Black literature professor from the South who now lives in Vermont, writes about the role of race in her life and her family's.

Publishers Weekly Review

Bernard, a University of Vermont professor of English and race and ethnic studies, intimately explores her life through the lens of race in this contemplative and compassionate collection of personal essays. As a Yale graduate student, Bernard was the victim of a mass stabbing, an event at the center of the book's opening essay, "Beginnings," and her premise that writing about and remembering a traumatic past is a process "fundamental in black American experience." She aims to "contribute something to the American racial drama besides the enduring narrative of black innocence and white guilt," in essays that include "Teaching the N-Word" and "Motherland," about adopting and raising two girls from Ethiopia with her white husband. Bernard's voice throughout is personable yet incisive in exploring the lived reality of race. By examining her family's Southern roots and her present life in Vermont, in "Interstates," she explores the differences and the bridge between white and black in her life. In "Black Is the Body," a beautiful reflection on racial difference and disparities, she acknowledges how race has informed "everything I do, and everything I write." Bernard's wisdom and compassion radiate throughout this thoughtful collection. (Feb.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Author notes provided by Syndetics

EMILY BERNARD was born and grew up in Nashville, Tennessee, and received her PhD in American studies from Yale University. She has been the recipient of grants from the Ford Foundation, the NEH, and a W. E. B. Du Bois Resident Fellowship at Harvard University. Her essays have been published in journals and anthologies, among them The American Scholar, Best American Essays, and Best African American Essays . She is the Julian Lindsay Green and Gold Professor of English at the University of Vermont.