A profound and harrowing meditation by a descendant of slaves who journeyed to Africa to understand her past
The slave, Saidiya Hartman observes, is a stranger torn from family, home, and country. To lose your mother is to be severed from your kin, to forget your past, and to inhabit the world as an outsider.
In Lose Your Mother, Hartman traces the history of the Atlantic slave trade by recounting a journey she took along a slave route in Ghana.
There are no known survivors of Hartman's lineage, no relatives to find. She is a stranger in search of strangers, and this fact leads her into intimate engagements with the people she encounters along the way, and with figures from the past, vividly dramatising the effects of slavery on three centuries of African and American history.
"An original, thought-provoking meditation on the corrosive legacy of slavery, [Lose Your Mother is] splendidly written, driven by this writer's prodigious narrative gifts." --Elizabeth Schmidt, The New York Times Book Review
"This is a memoir about loss, alienation, and estrangement, but also, ultimately, about the power of art to remember. Lose Your Mother is a magnificent achievement." --Henry Louis Gates Jr., Alphonse Fletcher University Professor, Harvard University