DAUGHTER IN RETROGRADE by Courtney Kersten

DAUGHTER IN RETROGRADE

A Memoir
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KIRKUS REVIEW

An essayist’s story of her relationship with her mother, who accompanied her on voyages “to the Deep End of mysticism, astrology and signs from beyond.”

Kersten often wondered what, in the world of “pleasantries, gossip, and compulsory warmth” that defined her rural Wisconsin hometown, she could trust. Her quest for understanding led to explorations of New Age ways of knowing before she was 10. Of all the “woo-woo” esoterica she studied, astrology was the one area of study to which she most naturally gravitated. It also became the way she bonded with Victoria, her free-spirited mother who loved outrageous bathing suits and discussing “the afterlife.” Kersten’s study of the planets and stars revealed that while her mother’s life goal was to “express her own personal truth,” hers was “to transcend doubt.” The author and her mother met a psychic in a run-down bar who told Victoria that he saw her death linked with the phrase “five years.” His message intrigued both mother and daughter, yet neither considered it seriously until Victoria received a diagnosis of terminal brain cancer a few years later. Blindsided by forces that stood poised to rob her of her major life guide, Kersten began to fear the future. She searched desperately for signs that would help her make sense not just of Victoria’s impending passing, but of her own life and its meaning. After her mother’s death, she went to old European haunts in Croatia and Latvia, where she looked for answers “about the workings of the universe [and about] trusting in a larger order.” Her journey inevitably took her back home and to her mother’s favorite lake, where, in an act of celebration and self-definition, the author cast the “confetti” of her mother’s ashes. Alternately comic and poignant, Kersten’s book is a coming-of-age story about faith and a searching meditation on the mother-daughter bond that will hold the most appeal for fellow seekers.

A refreshingly quirky memoir of soul-searching and family.

Pub Date: April 10th, 2018
ISBN: 978-0-299-31700-3
Page count: 208pp
Publisher: Univ. of Wisconsin
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 2018




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