The Riddle Song and Other Rememberings

Rebecca McClanahan

Intimate writings on family and relationships


"Lyrical, compelling, and compassionate, the words contained in The Riddle Song and Other Rememberings continue to move and amaze me. Stunningly vivid in its detail, heartbreaking in its emotional vision, this book rings long and true."
—Kim Barnes, author of In the Wilderness

"A dazzling first book of personal essays . . . each one so sensitively (and sensuously) rooted in actual existence that I continually had to remind myself that I was reading about someone's life, not living it myself. Writing rarely gets this emotionally real."
—Robert Atwan, series editor, The Best American Essays

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In this ensemble of beautifully personal, interrelated essays, writer and poet Rebecca McClanahan explores the familiar rituals, the shared dreams, and the guarded secrets that bind a family together. Besides navigating her own emotional landscape, McClanahan revisits the physical places of her childhood, adolescence, and adulthood. She takes us to the military bases where her father and husband were stationed, to the cemeteries she loved as both child and adult, and to the various hospitals and homes that served as backdrops for family stories.

Without sentimentality, she considers the meaning of losses—the loss of a child, a marriage, a family home, and a lost chance at motherhood—while celebrating the restorative power of time and close personal connections. In her search to discover what it means to be an individual within the context of kinship and ancestral bonds, McClanahan creates a moving meditation on family, memory, and the nature of home.

Page count: 208 pp.
Trim size: 5.5 x 8.25


List price: $19.95

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Rebecca McClanahan has published ten books, most recently The Tribal Knot: A Memoir of Family, Community, and a Century of Change. Her work has appeared in Best American Essays, Best American Poetry, the Pushcart Prize series, and numerous anthologies. A recipient of the Wood Prize from Poetry and the Glasgow Award in nonfiction, McClanahan teaches in the MFA programs of Queens University (Charlotte) and Rainier Writing Workshop at Pacific Lutheran University.