The nacreous lustre of New York blazes forth from the imagination of Lorde; a kaleidoscope of colours and cultures, from 1930’s Harlem and the feeling or repression, desperation and poverty mixed with hope for a new future, to the bohemian 1950’s Village;
“Later, I came to love the way the plants filtered the Southern exposure sun through the moon. Light hit the opposite wall at a point about six inches above the thirty-gallon fish tank that murmured softly, like a quiet jewel, standing on its wrought iron legs, glowing and mysterious”.
Interspersed with the fleeting moments of beauty which Lorde captures is the feeling of alienation, of not belonging, of being burdened by not just being black, but a woman and a lesbian-a triple load which weighs heavy on her. From her childhood, where she is forced to bear not just only the heavy oppression of her domineering mother, but also the prejudices of the school system, to her adulthood where she is forced to confront the limited life choices she has both in work and in her love life, Lorde is able to reach a sort of apotheosis via the women she describes during the novel, the emotions which they bring out her allow to to slowly and interminably reconnect with her own sense of humanity and identity;
“Every woman I have ever loved has left her print upon me, where I loved some invaluable piece of myself apart from me-so different that I had to stretch and grow in order to recognize her.”