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"Dine's prose is a poet's prose, often beautiful . . . [the book] reads like a skier on a slalom course full of jigs, jags, and quick jumps that capture a good amount of the fine surprises and sudden disasters in her life."   

         - Norman Mailer

 

In a series of unflinching vignettes laced with heartbreak and often with humor, Places in the Bone gives an unforgettable account of loss and survival, childhood secrets banished from memory, and the will of language to retrieve the missing parts of oneself and one’s past. Woven together with unmistakable lyricism, Dine’s narrative moves back and forth in time and place -- from the childhood bedroom that fills her with fear, to a hospital room after her surgery for breast cancer, to an adobe hut in a New Mexico artists’ colony where she escapes and finds her voice. 

This voice, it turns out, is a chorus -- a harmony of cries, both anguished and triumphant. Among them we hear a young girl speak about the abuse by her father; we hear the tormented reflections of a mother who, for several years after a divorce, loses contact with her young son; and we hear the testimony of a cancer survivor. Through it all, we feel the determination, courage, and creativity of a woman who has spent more than two decades confronting her past, her body, and her identity. Despite having struggled with a series of relationships, Dine finds positive influences in her life, including her mentor, Anne Sexton, who recognizes the fire in her words, and Stanley Kunitz, whose indomitable spirit provides enduring inspiration.

More than a story of personal loss, the memoir moves us with its humanity, its unnerving wit, and its defiant faith. As the fragments come together, we experience Dine’s joy in living and her reconciliation with the past that allow her to renew bonds with her son, her sister, and her mother. In page after page, the memoir witnesses the power of art to refigure a body, to transform suffering, and ultimately, to redeem. 

 

"...a startlingly honest exploration...(Dine)comes to a crucial understanding

of how writing gives her ownership over her life." 

     - ForeWord Magazine

"In this powerful memoir, poet Dine reflects...on how disease is just one aspect

of a life worth living." 

     - Library Journal