Le 5 juin 1985, Gwendolyn est assassinée par son ex-mari, Joel, dit « Big Joe ». Plus de trente ans après ce drame qui a changé sa vie, Natasha Trethewey, sa fille, affronte enfin sa part d'ombre en se penchant sur le destin de sa mère. Tout commence par un mariage interdit entre une femme noire et un homme blanc dans le Mississippi. Suivront une rupture, un déménagement puis une seconde union avec un vétéran du Vietnam. À chaque fois, Gwendolyn pense conquérir une liberté nouvelle. Mais la tâche semble impossible. Elle est toujours rattrapée par la violence.
Dans ce récit déchirant, Natasha Trethewey entremêle la trajectoire des femmes de sa famille et celle d'une Amérique meurtrie par le racisme. Elle rend à sa mère, Gwendolyn Ann Turnbough, sa voix, son histoire et sa dignité.
''A must-read classic'' Mary Karr ''Trethewey writes elegantly, trenchantly, intimately as well about the fraught history of the south and what it means live at the intersection of America''s struggle between blackness and whiteness. And what, in our troubled republic, is a subject more evergreen?'' Mitchell S. Jackson Natasha Trethewey was born in Mississippi in the 60s to a black mother and a white father. When she was six, Natasha''s parents divorced, and she and her mother moved to Atlanta. There, her mother met the man who would become her second husband, and Natasha''s stepfather.
While she was still a child, Natasha decided that she would not tell her mother about what her stepfather did when she was not there: the quiet bullying and control, the games of cat and mouse. Her mother kept her own secrets, secrets that grew harder to hide as Natasha came of age.
When Natasha was nineteen and away at college, her stepfather shot her mother dead on the driveway outside their home.
With penetrating insight and a searing voice that moves from the wrenching to the elegiac, Memorial Drive is a compelling and searching look at a shared human experience of sudden loss and absence, and a piercing glimpse at the enduring ripple effects of white racism and domestic abuse. Luminous, urgent, and visceral, it cements Trethewey''s position as one of the most important voices in America today.>