A neat and lavish, if constricting, childhood in the lush landscapes of North Carolina. Summers at a calm, remote beach house. A proper and religiously influenced prep school in Washington. Years at Bryn Mawr, an impulsive study trip to Paris, further education at Yale, married life, and divorced life. These are the settings for Mary Ann Caws’s passionate memoir, in which she recounts the highs and lows of her journey through life. Marked by complicated relationships and a passion for learning, Caws’s story is one that resonates not only with writers like herself, but with all who have struggled with determining their path within the surrounding world.
Caws writes of her formal, stylish parents, her rebellious and deeply admired sister, and her artistic grandmother, whom she respected and idolized more than anyone else. She describes her marriage and subsequent divorce, her bouts with therapy, her children, and her growth as a student and writer. Throughout the memoir is evidence of her love for writing, teaching, art, and poetry as well as her deep respect for the people in her life that ultimately guided her into her career.
Mary Ann Caws describes Southern society and her own life with fondness, nostalgia, and a tinge of honest criticism. The carefully selected details and delicate balance of sentiment and fact bring readers into the fascinating, complicated, and all-too-real world of Caws’s—and our own—past.
Mary Ann Caws is Distinguished Professor of English, French, and Comparative Literature in the Graduate School of City University of New York. She has held Guggenheim, Rockefeller, N.E.H., and Getty Foundation fellowships and is the author of Picasso’s Weeping Woman: The Life and Art of Dora Maar, Marcel Proust, Surprised in Translation and Virginia Woolf.