Death and Transfiguration
Publication Date: 03-01-1993
As a novelist concerned with issues of gender, social class, and ethnicity, Jo Sinclair has won coveted literary prizes and a devoted following. Now in this extraordinary memoir, she relates a tale as fascinating and moving as any work of fiction.
In this unique instance of Sinclair's storytelling, she tells the story of her Jewish working-class life through the prism of an intense relationship with a middle-class Anglo married women, into whose house she moves so that she might write her books. Helen Buchman gives Sinclair a room of her own and persuades her to eschew alcohol for gardening and to believe in herself.
"A story of the dailiness of two women's lives, The Seasons is thick with fragile rhythms—of gardens and conversations, work and love. Jo Sinclair's cross-class memoir is a working-class Kaddish, a mournful praise song, not of loss, but of the courage of honest continuation." —Janet Zandy, editor of Calling Home: Working Class Women's Writings
"Jo Sinclair's The Seasons tells us much about the writing life, the mental and material processes involved in being a writer, as well as embodying and reflecting on its own successive transformations from the journal record to the final art of autobiographical text. In its testimony to friendship, it is also an expression of biography as autobiography. Detailing her friend's illness and death, Sinclair offers a scrupulously detailed record of the body in pain. At the same time, she transcribes her own agony and witnesses too the redemptive powers of nature and art." —Barbara Shollar, editor of Longman Anthology of World Literature by Women, 1875-1975
"Jo Sinclair's memoir is a powerful, moving, carefully woven, and important work. It is a book for and about Helen Buchman, the woman who provided water, light, and nutrients for the seeds of a young woman to grow into a writer and a soul. This is also the story of Ruth Seid-Jo Sinclair who was that young woman and of the relationship between Helen and Jo. It is, moreover, and perhaps essentially, a book about gardening—literal and metaphoric—and the seasons of nature and of life." —Nancy Porter, former editor of Women's Studies Quarterly