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Self-Portrait in Green by Marie Ndiaye

Self-Portrait in Green

By Marie Ndiaye

It seems there is no genre of writing Marie NDiaye will not make her own. Asked to write a memoir, she turned in this paranoid fantasia of rising floodwaters, walking corpses, eerie depictions of her very own parents, and the incessant reappearance of women in green. Just who are these green women? They are powerful (one was NDiaye’s disciplinarian grade-school teacher). They are mysterious (one haunts a house like a ghost and may be visible only to the author). They are seductive (one stole a friend’s husband). And they are unbearably personal (one is NDiaye’s own mother). They are all, in their way, aspects of their creator, at once frightening, menacing, and revealing of everything submerged within the consciousness of this singular literary talent. A courageous, strikingly honest, and unabashedly innovative self-portrait, NDiaye’s kaleidoscopic look at the women in green is a revelation to us all — about how we form our identities, how we discover those things we repress, and how our obsessions become us.

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