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Possessing The Secret Of Joy [Paperback]

Alice Walker
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
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Book Description

15 July 1993
When Alice Walker finished writing The Color Purple she realised that she needed to tell the story of Tashi, a minor character, who had "left Africa but had taken her wound with her to America". This is Tashi's story, told in her words and the voices of the people who loved her. This extraordinarily courageous and compelling novel explores the tragic consequences of Tashi's decision to go through the female initiation ceremony.

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Possessing The Secret Of Joy + The Color Purple
Price For Both: £11.88

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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; New Ed edition (15 July 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099224119
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099224112
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 19.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 127,190 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Alice Walker won the Pulitzer prize and the American Book Award for The Color Purple. She is the author of many bestselling novels, essays and collections of poetry including Meridian, By the Light of My Father's Smile and The Third Life of Grange Copeland.

She lives and teaches in San Francisco.

Product Description


"Like The Color Purple, this novel packs an enormous emotional punch... A direct challenge to the times we live in" (Guardian)

"A true confrontation with the hearts of darkness, this is masterful, honourable, and unforgettable storytelling" (Cosmopolitan)

"Walker's delicate narrative gifts have never been better displayed, her depiction of the unbearable never so unflinchingly believable" (Daily Telegraph)

Book Description

This is the compelling story of Tashi, an extraordinary woman torn between African and American cultural identities, from the author of The Color Purple.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining and thought provoking 16 Jan 2000
By A Customer
Possessing the Secret of Joy is the story of Tashi, who has appeared in two previous novels of Alice Walker.It is her tale of rebellion, pride and self sacrifice. I found the book informative and entertaining. It taught me about female circumcision, a process I had never heard of before and it also taught me a lot about other tribal ceremonies. Walker provides a letter to the reader which explains her aims in writing the book. It contains many themes which are important to everyone such as rebellion, alienation, naievety and the influence of soceity. It is written from the point of view of the characters in the book which makes it so believable because you can identify with each character and understand their actions. I thought the book was amazing and I strongly recommend it to anyone!!!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Joyful! 11 Oct 2005
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I first read this book in college for a report that I was doing on female circumcision and this book definatley put a new spin on all of the prevoius research that I had done. 'POSSESSING THE SECRET OF JOY' takes you inside the life of Tashi a young woman living in Africa where this ritual is concidered a rite of passage for all young women.
Reading Tashi's story put a face to all of the facts and figures of my research. Alice Walker helps the reader to understand how this ritual affects young women in Africa and how to many young women this is a welcome practice. This is by no means light reading there are parts that will make you laugh and parts that will make you want to cry, it will give you new insight into a culture that we are not too familiar with as well as give you hope. There is a passage at the very begining of this book that I have kept with me throughout the years so if you have the opportunity to read this book please do so you will not regret it and you just may find something within it that sticks with you too. 4 Stars!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars amazing book! 17 Jan 2003
after reading the colour purple and being addicted to it, i thought i would give this book a try to find out more about tashi and her life after arriving in america. i was not disapointed, and ended up reading the book in one day because i just couldnt put it down. a brief synopsis of this book would be that it follows tashi's journey to america and deals with how she copes living in such a different culture. anyone who has read the colour purple will remember that previous to her journey to america she received the female intiation ceromony, and the book discusses how she copes with that when living in a culture where it is not the social norm. be warned this book is very sad in places, and the only book that has made me cry but was well worth reading.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
By B.
I think one sentence struck me:
'It was about how, at last, I recognised the connection between mutilation and enslavement that is at the root of the domination of women in the world'.
Brilliant book. Suprisingly easy to read seeing as it deals with such a complex culteral and social issue of female circumcision.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent! Interesting! and informative! 1 Aug 2003
Reading Possessing The Secret of Joy prompted me to focus on Alice Walker for my university studies. The book articulates the voice of many women who have been circumsised, it tracks the life of Tashi an African tribes women who relocates to America. Walker successfully brings to light a subject that is too often ignored or unrealised- a 'taboo'. This book is a must read, it is incredibly powerful and I was unable to but it down.
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