Pure Flame On Mothers and Daughters

Michelle Orange


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An intellectual and personal reckoning with a very particular unease about what it means to be a woman, a mother, and a daughter.

‘Rich and moving’ New York Times

‘A book that expands and breaks your heart’ Adelle Waldman

A revelatory enquiry into selfhood, freedom, mortality, storytelling, and what it means to be a mother’s daughter

During one of the texting sessions that became our habit over the period I now think of as both late and early in our relationship, my mother revealed the existence of someone named Janis Jerome.

So begins Michelle Orange’s extraordinary inquiry into the meaning of maternal legacy – in her own family and across a century of seismic change. Jerome, she learns, is one of her mother’s many alter egos- the name used in a case study, eventually sold to the Harvard Business Review, about her midlife choice to leave her husband and children to pursue career opportunities in a bigger city.

A flashpoint in the lives of both mother and daughter, the decision forms the heart of a broader exploration of the impact of feminism on what Adrienne Rich called ‘the great unwritten story’- that of the mother-daughter bond.

Through a blend of memoir, social history, and cultural criticism, Pure Flame pursues a chain of personal, intellectual, and collective inheritance, tracing the forces that helped transform the world and what a woman might expect from it.

‘A provocative, meditative, funny, feminist adventure about two women trying to tell each other the stories that matter while there’s still time’ Alexander Chee

‘Recasts the notion of maternal legacy’ Kiese Laymon

‘Powerful and compassionate’ Veronica Esposito, Literary Hub

‘A brilliant work of feminist critique’ Lauren Puckett-Pope, US Elle


In stock

ISBN – 9781787303348
Publication Date – 02/11/2021
Categories – Memoir

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