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The Memory Palace by Mira Bartók
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The Memory Palace

by Mira Bartók

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4041526,397 (3.87)23
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A gorgeously written memoir about a fractured family drawn back into orbit by the terminal illness of a mother -- a homeless, schizophrenic, musical prodigy -- a woman so volatile and frightening that both of her daughters had legally changed their names as young adults and "hidden" from their mother for decades. Both girls return to be by Norma Herr's side in her final days and discover, in a storage unit, her own written record of the intervening years. At turns lucid and fantastic, these writings allowed Mira Bartok (Norma Herr's younger daughter) to rediscover her mother and to better understand herself. Norma's journal entries that Mira includes in the memoir are hauntingly sad, and, yet, they show glimpses of a brilliantly talented woman surprisingly aware of how far from reality she lives. A thought-provoking look at the meaning of "family". ( )
  vasquirrel | Jul 27, 2013 |
This is a very hard book to read. I applaud Mira Bartok for her honesty in writing about her mother's Schizophrenia and the way it affected her whole life. Although I am interested in reading about fictional characters who have a mental illness, this is not fiction and I had to put it aside several times to regroup. I went back to it because the bravery of Mira Bartok to write it demanded that I would. Her struggle to take care of herself while not completely abandoning her mother was a very fine line to navigate and it won't be easy for readers to understand how and why she had to separate herself from her mother even when the mother was aging and homeless. But the fair reader will not judge a situation they have never faced and will realize that Mira had no workable choice. I got thru this book by reading a light book during breaks I gave myself and I suggest that to others. ( )
  stillwaters12 | Jan 8, 2013 |
A very sad book! It was horrible to read that these women had to change their names and hide from their ill mother, but understandable. Loved the quotes and little stories throughout. Bartok's writing is wonderful to read and she sounds like someone I'd love to meet! ( )
  briannad84 | Dec 29, 2012 |
A heartbreaking account of the conflict between love and sense of duty to the insane schizophrenic mother and person's desire to live her own life.

There is tremendous beauty, sadness and compassion in this book. ( )
  Niecierpek | Jul 1, 2012 |
Wonderful, sad story that was beautifully written. ( )
  KarenHerndon | May 18, 2012 |
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A gorgeous memoir about the 17 year estrangement of the author and her homeless schizophrenic mother, and their reunion.

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