Tag Archives: Photographs

In the Darkroom by Susan Faludi

In the Darkroom Title: In the Darkroom
Author: Susan Faludi
Publisher: Metropolitan Books
ISBN: 9780805089080
Genre: Non-Fiction, Memoir, Autobiography, Biography
Pages: 432
Source: Publisher
Rating: 5 Stars

To be honest, I had gone blind into this book. I had not read the synopsis or any review online. Nothing. I knew nothing about the book and just went on an adventure with it. Take me where you will, I had almost said and saw through that to the very end.

Faludi’s book to put it simply is about her father and identity. However, it isn’t as simple as it sounds. Susan’s father had left her when she was young. She then set off to investigate him in the summer of 2004 – in the process of discovering and knowing her father, she began understanding her roots and history – Jewish history at that.

Susan found out that her seventy-six year old father – now living in Hungary had undergone sex reassignment surgery. This then led to the questions of identity and gender in the modern world, as seen and observed by her. How could she come to terms with a new parent? A parent who was no longer a man, but a woman? Did it make sense at all? Should it make any sense in this world? At the same time, she had always known her father to be violent. He was a photographer (hence the title and more layers to it which you will figure as you read the book)and the reference to images and the shifting of them is another thing that will leave you spellbound in this book.

The book traverses between the present and past beautifully. Susan’s writing takes you to dark corners of the human heart and soul – when she speaks of politics, she integrates it with the personal and that lends itself so well again to the “question of identity”. Can you escape it? Can you so easily invent another one for yourself? Is it really that simple?

What I also loved is that Susan talked of the trans-gender movement (being a gay man, and it falling under the umbrella of LGBTQIA, I couldn’t help but wonder about it, which led me doing my own research on it) and not only that, the way she speaks of universal father-daughter relationships and how she doesn’t know where she stands in that equation anymore. Through her writing, you can see her struggle to find her father beneath the person he has now become.

“In the Darkroom” is emotional for sure but above all it is a book of such intricate details of relationships – that are strong and fragile and need a voice of their own, which Faludi lends hers to beautifully.

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Our World – Photographs by Molly Malone Cook and Text by Mary Oliver

Our World - Photographs by Molly Malone Cook and Text by Mary Oliver Title: Our World
Author: Photographs by Molly Malone Cook and Text by Mary Oliver
Publisher: Beacon Press
ISBN: 9780807068809
Genre: Poetry, Prose, Non-Fiction, Photography
Pages: 96
Source: Personal Copy
Rating: 5/5

I had heard of Mary Oliver through Brainpickings.org and I was in love with her poetry. There is something to it, which I cannot attach a word to. I am sure other readers of her poems will agree with what I have to say. However, the book read first in the month was not her book of poems. It was more of a memoir and not quite that. It was a book on her life with her partner of forty years, Molly Malone Cook. “Our World” is the name of the book. The title is so apt, more so when the works of both people are merged, then the result is something so deep, personal and emotional.

Our World - Image 1

“Our World” is a book that demands to be savoured and read in gulps. The photographs shot by Molly and the words provided by Mary are so complimentary that you cannot take one from the other. Molly was Mary’s partner of forty years, as I mentioned before. This book is almost a dedication to her, as she passed away from lung cancer. Mary remembers the moments spent without being too sentimental about them. She remembers their life (funny how two lives when combined become this one singular entity of love and everything hopeful) together and the small and the big things. I think that is life after all – the good life – the life spent together and there is nothing else to it then.

Molly’s photographs talk of reality. They speak to the reader/viewer of simplicity and kindness. They radiate joy. Mary invites us to her most personal aspect – the relationship she shared with Molly. Every face in the photographs is communicated. Every word that Mary writes is enchanting. Not to forget some pieces from Molly’s journal towards the end that leaves a lump in the throat. Read this book just so you can believe in togetherness all over again and if you already do, then it will just reaffirm it for you.

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