Mira and her sister Natalia, grow up under the veil of their mother's madness. Norma was a schizophrenic often given to crazy outbursts, physical attacks on the girls, strings of verbal vulgarity, and generally making a nuisance of herself. Norma showed up at their workplaces, wrote them crazy letters, purchased a gun, cut Mira's throat with a broken bottle, and made life hell for these two girls.
Finally, both girls were forced to move away and not tell Norma where they were, it was the only way they could live their lives in peace. Years later, after learning that Norma is dying, Mira and Natalia come home and must sift through the feelings they each held against their mother.
This was a riveting, spellbinding, and deeply entrancing read. Mira Bartok's The Memory Palace is a lesson for us all in the sadness and extremely difficult lives people live when a family member is struck with mental illness. Throughout the book I found some humour but I also found a lot of misery and melancholy. This is a book everyone should read!
February 28, 2011