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'Heart Berries' is our January book club pick

Our January 2020 pick for the PBS NewsHour-New York Times book club Now Read This is "Heart Berries" by Terese Marie Mailhot. Become a member of the book club by joining our Facebook group, or by signing up to our newsletter. Learn more about the book club here.

We're excited to announce our first book club pick for the new year: Terese Marie Mailhot's "Heart Berries."

Mailhot's memoir traces her family's history on the Seabird Island Indian Reservation in British Columbia, Canada. Her collected essays address the trauma experienced by indigenous people across generations, as well as the author's own struggles with mental illness.

Author Terese Marie Mailhot. Photo by Beowulf Sheehan
Author Terese Marie Mailhot. Photo by Beowulf Sheehan

The New York Times Book Review critic Parul Sehgal called "Heart Berries" a "sledgehammer" that "reckons with the wages of intergenerational trauma."

Sehgal wrote that Mailhot's "experiment with structure and language … are in the service of trying to find new ways to think about the past, trauma, repetition and reconciliation, which might be a way of saying a new model for the memoir."

"Heart Berries" was a New York Times best-seller, and a finalist for the Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize for Nonfiction.

Speaking with the PBS NewsHour in 2018, Mailhot said an interviewer once asked if she felt like a role model for indigenous women. Mailhot said she bristled at the notion, saying, "I didn't want to be the voice of anyone but myself. I didn't want to be looked up to."

"My book is about survival and transgression," she added.

Video by PBS NewsHour

We hope you'll join us and read along.

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