Reviews for INHERITING OUR NAMES
Reviews from Amazon
🐈 Amazon Customer
I love this beautiful "imagined true memoir." It is grounded AND ethereal. Open-eyed AND empathetic. And it is True, in the important capital "T" way.
McPherson writes "No one in my family would ever discuss this time of war, hunger and political oppression. So, in trying to discern a personal truth from the steely silences emanating from everyone, including my mother, I read books..." All kinds of books. Novels, histories, poets like Lorca and Machado. Then McPherson travels -- to Seville to sit in her grandmother's church, to walk in the festival processions, to visit the graves named and nameless.
McPherson's deep dive into the real and the imagined gave her room to fully inhabit the lives of her unforgettable characters. When I finished the book I had to sit with it awhile. I needed to sit with each of those people and hold space for the things I'd learned about them, their times and my own.
🏖 Tracy M
Reviewed in the United States on September 7, 2021
This is such a powerful story. The writing is exquisite! The way the author ties her own experiences to the those of her mother demonstrates how events can reverberate across generations.
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Poetic and Thoughtful
Reviewed in the United States on April 11, 2021
It's not a great revelation that we carry the pain of our parents. But how many of us ever really know what those pains are and the depth and breadth of intergenerational pain? Vargas-McPherson goes on a quest, back to her mother's native Sevilla, Spain, to try to untangle the rigorously silenced past. In this "Imagined True Memoir," she is poetic and thoughtful, courageous and insightful as she sits in the same church that her mother and her grandmother did. She tells the stories of the impact of the Spanish Civil War and Franco on her family members as well as the impact of the policy of "forgetting." The conclusion she reaches is one many of us do come to: that our parents' limitations are in response to horror and grief. But the heart, the curiosity, the penetrating lens into what might have led to her own particular family's pain - that makes this book a worthy read indeed.
💮 amaryllis london
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Powerful excavation of author's family history in Franco's Spain
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 1, 2021
What an amazing book. Trying to make sense of her own childhood experience, the author has travelled back three generations in her family's history to Seville in Southern Spain. There, as the fascist dictator Franco comes to power, the author attempts to imagine the grief of her grandmother who lost a young daughter to hunger. She explores how the suffering caused by this loss affected the generations to come. There is much to learn in this book about the history of Spain's civil war and also about how trauma can be transmitted from mother to child, but this is not a dry history book or a textbook of psychology. It is a lyrical and loving act of imagination, a painful but beautifully-told story, which feels like a magical realist novel. So much can be hidden in families, and even more so when generations have been brought up under a terrifying regime of silencing. But C Vargas McPherson has bravely ventured into hidden chapters of her family history, and in the act of retrieval she has attempted to release what darkness has been trapped. And throughout this book, she dares to explore how we are to live and be loving in a world where such horrors can happen.
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ in the United States on July 20, 2021
Inheriting Our Names is a beautiful book. Vargas McPherson paints amazing, vivid imagery of pre-war Spain. While reading, I felt as if I was hearing the flamenco music or tasting the smoke in the air. The exploration of grief and transgenerational (and even National) trauma is not only thought-provoking, but also thoughtful and tender.
I highly recommend this “imagined, true memoir.” The magical realism, historical scenery, and personal connection makes for a stunning read.