LARB True Stories
In the Belly of Her Ghost
General Trade : Age (years) from 16 - 100
BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY / Personal Memoirs
Mar 22, 2019
6.71 x 7.09 x 0.34 in
19 black and white photographs embedded into the text, sourced from author.
Los Angeles Review of Books (LARB)
Los Angeles Review of Books
Colin Dayan’s searing personal narrative is as much a Southern Gothic story as a haunting family portrait. A tale of love and resentment, In the Belly of Her Ghost is a memoir and meditation on the author’s dead mother — a Haitian woman attempting to assimilate into white Southern belle high society during the Civil Rights era. Dayan’s mother grows austere with her newfound glamour and dismissive of her daughter, whose darker skin foments a loving connection with Lucille, her African American nanny. Capturing the bitter struggle of mother and daughter — from her childhood unto death and beyond into the disconcerting present—In the Belly of Her Ghost is a lyrical journey through memory and loss. Dayan reflects on her complicated origins as she grows into a woman, uncertain if she’s “black” or “white”; we see a gritty, nuanced view of the Jim Crow South. A literary ghost story, In the Belly of Her Ghost grapples with our complicated notions of race, identity, and femininity.