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The Temple of My Familiar Paperback – 3 Sep 2010


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Product details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Mariner Books; Reprint edition (3 Sept. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0547480008
  • ISBN-13: 978-0547480008
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 2.9 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,132,346 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

Review

''Walker's fictional creations are musicians, storytellers, artists and mothers: all of them embrace life with the characteristic optimism of this author, against a background of colour: love, for instance, blossoms on an "olive-green sailboat with its black-and-yellow sails". (HERALD (9.10.04)) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

'A romance of the last 500,000 years' from the Pulitzer prize winning author of THE COLOR PURPLE. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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First Sentence
In the old country in South America, Carlotta's grandmother, Zede, had been a seamstress, but really more of a sewing magician. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By "nixnixnix" on 11 Mar. 2004
Format: Paperback
A moving and at times fantastical portrayal of men and women and their struugle to come to terms with the parts they play in each others lives. From Suwelo, the black historian coming to terms with collapse of his marriage to the woman he loves, a woman who loves him equally but has no desire to be married. It is on the death of his Uncle Rafe that Suwelo meets Mr Hal and Lissie, a couple of a thousand lives and a thousand lifetimes that he begins to understand women and how they have learnt not to rely on the men who have always betrayed them.
The whole novel is along these lines and the characters lives all link into one anothers, much like many of Walker's previous work. Essentially a work of feminist fiction from both female and male viewpoints, 'The Temple of My Familiar' is a deeply moving and often humourous work. I enjoyed it immensely and it is one the books that I always enjoy re-reading, a sure sign of a good book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By "nixnixnix" on 11 Mar. 2004
Format: Paperback
A moving and at times fantastical portrayal of men and women and their struugle to come to terms with the parts they play in each others lives. Suwelo,a key figure is a the black historian coming to terms with collapse of his marriage to the woman he loves, a woman who loves him equally but has no desire to be married. It is on the death of his Uncle Rafe that Suwelo meets Mr Hal and Lissie, a couple of a thousand lives and a thousand lifetimes that he begins to understand women and how they have learnt not to rely on the men who have always betrayed them.
The whole novel is along these lines and the characters lives all link into one anothers, much like most of Walker's previous work. Essentially a work of feminist fiction from a black standpoint with both female and male viewpoints, 'The Temple of My Familiar' is a deeply moving and often humourous work. I enjoyed it immensely and it is one the books that I always enjoy re-reading, a sure sign of a good book.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By rachel on 16 May 2002
Format: Hardcover
It would be an exaggeration to say that this book changed my life, but it has certainly changed the way I look at the world in a way no other book has ever done. It tells the intertwined stories of a group of people living in the USA. One of the characters has a special gift - she can remember all her past lives. Through her memories, the author tells her version of the history of mankind. The story itself is compelling, but it is mainly for the view of life it has given me that I love this book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 27 July 2000
Format: Paperback
A book to read and re-read. Not so much a novel, as a story with many many stories attached. This is a book for all humanity, covering such topics as the orgin of white people, the origin of patriarchy and misogny; why everybody loved Elvis and ultimately why, witches have cats! This book is incredibly rich in story, myth and information regarding our origins that must have been deeply intuited. Of course, there is love, betrayal, learning and pain as well as healing, which is mostly what this book is about - reconnect your spirit if it has wandered, read this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By MzBookMuncher on 26 Jun. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
Alice Walker's books fly into my hands. I've loved all the ones I've read so far. And there are so many things a reader can get from this particular title. Alice Walker travels back in time through a lot of this book and explores the basis of myth and culture. That sounds heavy; it isn't really. Her narrative style - oral tradition - pulls you along quite nicely. There might be certain things that you dislike about this book: it covers a lot of ground and is mostly myth based. But there is something vital, alert and heart-warming in Alice Walker's narratives. And something inviting. It's a book written in the oral tradition; so it feels like the characters are sitting next to you telling you the story. I will say that there are quite a few aspects of this combination of stories that I haven't come to grips with, but I have given it five stars because some of the historical accounts and outlining of myths are, as far as I'm concerned, essential reading. And if this book is read in the right way, and perhaps re-read as and when needed, it can be a real companion to you in times of hardship, pain, sadness and confusion.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By rob crawford TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 8 Aug. 2011
Format: Paperback
While I do not subscribe to New Age beliefs, reincarnation, or any of the other spiritual stuff that this book advocates, that did not stop me from thoroughly enjoying the characters and the world they exist in. Indeed, this book tapped into my sense of wonder as few have in recent years, the mystery of life and how our beliefs shape our world as we struggle to make sense of it all and move ahead. As such, this book for me was a complete success, just a delight to experience - I could suspend my disbelief and simply savor it, hooked into the characters, their issues, their compromises and little triumphs. That makes for a superior novel. It tickled my imagination and gave me images that I will never forget, no matter how weird or unbelievable some of them might be.

Warmly recommended.
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By Zanna Star on 15 Nov. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"Obenjomade, clean out your ears: THE WHITE MAN IS STILL HERE. Even when he leaves, he is not gone."

"Obenjomade, cup your endearingly large ears: EVERYONE ALL OVER THE WORLD KNOWS EVERYTHING THERE IS TO KNOW ABOUT THE WHITE MAN. That's the essential meaning of television. BUT THEY KNOW NEXT TO NOTHING ABOUT THEMSELVES."

"If you tear out the tongue of another, you have a tongue in your hand for the rest of your life. You are responsible, therefore, for all that person might have said."

Folk Memory, Matriarchy and Writing Back

Through the Black woman Lissie and the Latina/First Nation woman Zede, Walker speculates about pre-colonisation African and American societies, with anarchist and matriarchal or segregated organisations. She does this in a beautiful, poetic, magical realist style, freely imagining and reimagining myths and relationships between groups and even species. I think a number of reviewers have not understood or enjoyed this aspect of the book. I think it's about opening human possibilities into a space of folk-memory rather than a utopian future. Since kyriarchy has constructed human history we should not accept its interpretation. If myths and meta-narratives shape us, we urgently need to rewrite those that have deformed us. In particular, I love her rewriting of the Adam and Eve story to address the racism of Western Christianity and remove blame from Woman. This writing back is Walker’s answer to the quote above. The White man is still here even after he has left, so we have to replace him with something. We need an antidote to his poison.

Beauty and Play

I love the way Alice Walker sees the beauty in everything and always chooses the beauty, without censoring the painful truth.
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