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Seeing Through Places

Seeing Through Places

Reflections on Geography and Identity

Mary Gordon, bestselling author of Spending and The Shadow Man, investigates the role that place plays in the formation of identity -- the connections between how we experience place and how we become ourselves. From her grandmother's house, which stood at the center of her childhood life, to a rented house on Cape Cod, where she began to mature as a writer, Mary Gordon navigates the reader through these spaces and worlds with subtlety and style. Wise, humorous, and intelligent, Seeing Through Places illuminates the relationship between the physical, emotional, and intellectual architectures of our lives, showing us the far-reaching power that places ultimately have in influencing a life.
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  • Scribner | 
  • 256 pages | 
  • ISBN 9780684862552 | 
  • October 2001
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Chapter One: My Grandmother's House

Some days I would be left at my grandmother's house. I never knew why. Usually, I could ask my father anything, but I couldn't ask him that, why I was being left at my grandmother's, because I knew it was a privilege to be in that house, and no one, even my father would understand my reluctance. It was only a partial reluctance anyway, and I believed then that I had no business communicating anything I only partially understood.

Entering the house, I was plunged into an atmosphere of bafflement. The words, the manners, all the things, were foreign to me. The foreignness almost seemed literal;... see more

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