cover of book

Curing Season: Artifacts
by Kristine Langley Mahler
West Virginia University Press, 2022
Paper: 978-1-952271-65-6 | eISBN: 978-1-952271-66-3
Library of Congress Classification F260.42.M34A3 2022
Dewey Decimal Classification 975.6092

“An exquisite, aching memoir of adolescent girlhood. . . . Treasures await.” —Minneapolis Star Tribune

“A lovely and rapturous excavation and examination of the past, a lesson in writing oneself into history when it doesn’t offer you a space.” —Jenny Boully, author of Betwixt-and-Between: Essays on the Writing Life

After spending four years of adolescence in suburban North Carolina, Kristine Langley Mahler, even as an adult, is still buffeted by the cultural differences between her pioneer-like upbringing in Oregon and the settled southern traditions into which she could never assimilate. Collecting evidence of displacement—a graveyard in a mall parking lot, a suburban neighborhood of white kids bused to desegregate public schools in the 1990s, and the death of her best friend—Curing Season is an attempt to understand her failed grasp at belonging.

Mahler’s yearning for acceptance remains buried like a splinter, which she carefully tweezes out in the form of artifacts from her youth. But it isn’t until she encounters a book of local family histories that she takes inhabitation and truth apart, grafting and twisting and imprinting her history on theirs, until even she can no longer tell the difference between their truth and her own. Using inventive essay forms, Mahler pries apart the cracks of exclusion and experiments with the nature of belonging, memory, and place. Curing Season is a coming-of-age memoir for anyone who grew up anywhere but home.

See other books on: Childhood and youth | Friendship | Life Stages | North Carolina | Teenage girls
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