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New From Counterpoint Press One of the most anticipated books of the year


Heart Berries

List Price: $23.00

ON SALE: February 6, 2018 | Hardcover | 5×8, 160 pages | ISBN 9781619023345
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Heart Berries by Terese Mailhot is an astounding memoir in essays. Here is a wound. Here is need, naked and unapologetic. Here is a mountain woman, towering in words great and small… What Mailhot has accomplished in this exquisite book is brilliance both raw and refined.” —Roxane Gay, author of Hunger

“Shot through with funny angry beautiful brutal truths. This is a writer for our times who simultaneously blows up time.” —Lidia Yuknavitch, author of The Book of Joan

Heart Berries is a powerful, poetic memoir of a woman’s coming of age on the Seabird Island Indian Reservation in the Pacific Northwest. Having survived a profoundly dysfunctional upbringing only to find herself hospitalized and facing a dual diagnosis of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Bipolar II; Terese Marie Mailhot is given a notebook and begins to write her way out of trauma. The triumphant result is Heart Berries, a memorial for Mailhot’s mother, a social worker and activist who had a thing for prisoners; a story of reconciliation with her father—an abusive drunk and a brilliant artist—who was murdered under mysterious circumstances; and an elegy on how difficult it is to love someone while dragging the long shadows of shame.

Mailhot “trusts the reader to understand that memory isn’t exact, but melded to imagination, pain, and what we can bring ourselves to accept.” Her unique and at times unsettling voice graphically illustrates her mental state. As she writes, she discovers her own true voice, seizes control of her story, and, in so doing, re-establishes her connection to her family, to her people, and to her place in the world.

TERESE MARIE MAILHOT graduated from the Institute of American Indian Arts with an M.F.A. in fiction. Mailhot’s work has appeared in The Rumpus, the Los Angeles TimesCarve MagazineThe OffingThe ToastYellow Medicine Review, and elsewhere. The recipient of several fellowships—SWAIA Discovery Fellowship, Vermont Studio Center Fellowship, Writing by Writers Fellowship, and the Elk Writer’s Workshop Fellowship—she was recently named the Tecumseh Postdoctoral Fellow at Purdue University and resides in West Lafayette, Indiana.

SHERMAN ALEXIE, winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction, the PEN/Malamud Award for Short Fiction, a PEN/Hemingway Citation for Best First Fiction, and the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature, is a poet, short story writer, novelist, and performer. He has published 26 books including his soon to be released memoir, You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me, his first picture book, Thunder Boy Jr, and his young adult novel, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, He has also published the 20th Anniversary edition of his classic book of stories, The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven. Smoke Signals, the movie he wrote and co-produced, won the Audience Award and Filmmakers Trophy at the 1998 Sundance Film Festival. A Spokane/Coeur d’Alene Indian, Alexie grew up in Wellpinit, Washington, on the Spokane Indian Reservation. Alexie has been an urban Indian since 1994 and lives in Seattle with his family.

JOAN NAVIYUK KANE is the author of The Cormorant Hunter’s Wife, Hyperboreal, The Straits, and Milk Black Carbon. Honors for her work include the Whiting Writer’s Award, the Donald Hall Prize in Poetry, the Alaska Literary Award, and fellowships from the Rasmuson Foundation, the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation, the School for Advanced Research, Aninstantia Foundation, and the Lannan Foundation. A graduate of Harvard College and Columbia University’s School of the Arts, she raises her sons in Alaska and teaches in the low-residency MFA program at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico.


Praise for Heart Berries

1 of 27 Most Anticipated Books of 2018 (Esquire)
1 of 50 Most Anticipated Books of 2018 (Entertainment Weekly)
1 of 19 of the Best Books to Read This Winter (ELLE)
1 of 33 Books to Get Excited About in 2018 (Cosmopolitan)
1 of 60 Books We Can’t Wait to Read in 2018 (Huffington Post)
1 of 30 Most Anticipated Nonfiction Books of 2018 (Bitch)
1 of 50 Books We Can’t Wait to Read in 2018 (NYLON)
1 of 14 Debut Books by Women Coming Out in 2018 That You Need in Your TBR Pile (Bustle)
One of The Millions’s Most Anticipated Books of 2018
What to Read when 2018 Is Just Around the Corner (The Rumpus)
1 of 46 Books by Women of Color to Read in 2018 (Electric Lit)
1 of 23 Highly Anticipated Books of 2018 (Goodreads)
1 of 65 Queer and Feminist Books to Read in 2018 (Autostraddle)
The Rumpus Book Club Selection for January
A Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Selection
New York Public Library, One of the Most-Anticipated Adult Books of 2018
1 of 21 Books to Read in 2018 (The Week)

“Sometimes a writer’s voice is so distinctive, so angry and messy yet wise, that her story takes on the kind of urgency that makes you turn pages faster and faster. Terese Marie Mailhot has one of those voices, and her memoir about being raised on a Canadian reservation and coming to understand what it means to be an indigenous person in modern times is breathtaking.” —Esquire, 1 of 27 Most Anticipated Books of 2018

“A luminous, poetic memoir.” —Entertainment Weekly, 1 of 50 Most Anticipated Books of 2018

“This powerful memoir reveals a life of struggle and illness, deprivation and pain, but is so full of strength in the face of adversity, that it is impossible not to read it and feel real hope and the possibility of triumph and renewal, no matter how dark things seem . . . The result is this singularly moving, poetic book, one full of rage and desire, fear and brilliance. Prepare for it to sink its teeth into your very heart.” —NYLON, 1 of 50 Books We Can’t Wait to Read in 2018

“Poetic is an oft-used descriptor of lovely writing, and this book seems to be something more striking than the word signifies: a memoir and a poem, a haunting and dazzlingly written narrative of Mailhot’s growing up on a reservation in the Pacific Northwest.” —Huffington Post, 1 of 60 Books We Can’t Wait to Read in 2018

Heart Berries by Terese Marie Mailhot is an astounding memoir in essays. Here is a wound. Here is need, naked and unapologetic. Here is a mountain woman, towering in words great and small. She writes of motherhood, loss, absence, want, suffering, love, mental illness, betrayal, and survival. She does this without blinking, but to say she is fearless would be to miss the point. These essays are too intimate, too absorbing, too beautifully written, but never ever too much. What Mailhot has accomplished in this exquisite book is brilliance both raw and refined, testament.” —Roxane Gay, author of Hunger

“Inside Terese Mailhot’s phenomenal memoir Heart Berries the truth wrestles a knot between hustle and heart. How does a woman raised on a reservation in Canada forge a lifestory in the face of a culture hell bent on keeping her quiet and calm? By and through her body, is how, and this woman’s body rages, desires, screams and whispers its way into the reader’s body, as if to remind us that the rest of the story will not be silenced. Terese radically reinvents language in order to surface what has been murdered by American culture: the body of a woman, the voice of a warrior, the stories of ancestral spirit jutting up and through the present tense. I am mesmerized by her lyricism because it is shot through with funny angry beautiful brutal truths. This is a writer for our times who simultaneously blows up time. Thank oceans.” —Lidia Yuknavitch, author of The Book of Joan, The Small Backs of Children, Dora: A Headcase, and The Chronology of Water

Heart Berries is an epic take—an Iliad for the indigenous. It is the story of one First Nation woman and her geographic, emotional, and theological search for meaning in a colonial world. It is disturbing and hilarious. It contains sentences of such poetry and power that you will be compelled to set the book down and walk away to recover from the tremors. Terese is a world-changing talent and I recommend this book with 100% of my soul.” —Sherman Alexie, author of You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me

“This book is ache and balm. It is electric honesty and rigorous craft. It concerns a woman who veers into difficult and haunted corners. She meets ghosts and hospitals. She ends up in a mutinous wing of memoir, disobeying all colonial postures, ‘neat narratives,’ formulas and governments. The resulting story is brave and bewitching. I am so grateful to Terese Marie Mailhot, a fiery new voice, whose words devoured my heart.” —Kyo Maclear, bestselling author of Birds Art Life

“Mailhot fearlessly addresses intimately personal issues with a scorching honesty derived from psychological pain and true epiphany . . . Slim, elegiac, and delivered with an economy of meticulous prose, the book calibrates the author’s history as an abused child and an adult constantly at war with the demons of mental illness. An elegant, deeply expressive meditation infused with humanity and grace.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Powerful and raw, Heart Berries looks unflinchingly at trauma, love, pain, self-acceptance, and what it means to be a Native woman today.” BuzzFeed, 1 of 33 Most Exciting New Books of 2018

“[A]n innovative coming-of-age narrative about Mailhot’s upbringing on the Sea Island Indian Reservation in the Pacific Northwest . . . explores being Indigenous in a world that has neglected the community for centuries.” —Bitch, 1 of 30 Most Anticipated Nonfiction Books of 2018

“This gut punch of a memoir . . . [is] essentially a love letter, full of humor and truth, to tough, challenging women everywhere.” —Marie Claire

“A memoir in essays, Terese Marie Mailhot’s Heart Berries tells the story of the author’s coming-of-age on the Seabird Island Indian Reservation in the Pacific Northwest—one filled with dysfunction and a dual diagnosis of PTSD and bipolar disorder. What did Mailhot do with all that? She wrote her way out of her trauma, finding forgiveness, understanding, peace, and triumph along the way.” —Bustle, 1 of 14 Debut Books by Women Coming Out in 2018 That You Need in Your TBR Pile

“Mailhot’s memoir isn’t just another confession of the hells of living with PTSD and BiPolar disorder: it’s a woman writing herself out of the darkness and into acceptance of the events in her life.” —The Coil, Books We Can’t Wait to Read in 2018

“Mailhot works language like a poet and lets memory and time twist around to elicit from herself deeper truths about childhood trauma, mental illness, Native identity, love, romance, and motherhood.” —Pasatiempo

“Mailhot’s first book defies containment and categorization. In titled essays, it is a poetic memoir told in otherworldly sentences . . . Not shy, nor raw, nor typical in any way, this is a powerfully crafted and vulnerable account of living and writing about it.” —Booklist

“This stunning, poetic memoir from Terese Marie Mailhot burns like hot coal. I read it in a single feverish session, completely absorbed and transported by Mailhot’s powerful and original voice . . . The strength of her writing comes from Mailhot’s fearless embrace of emotional darkness and in her depiction of the psychic cost of living in a white man’s world.” —BookPage, Nonfiction Top Pick for February

“It is incredibly beautiful . . . I am just absolutely in love with it . . . I had to use every ounce of self-control to not sit and read it when it came to my house.” —Reading Women, 1 of the Most Anticipated New Releases of 2018

Heart Berries by Terese Mailhot: Stories that untell the dominant culture’s cover story from the point of view of a First Nation Woman. Absolutely astonishing in its wrestling of hustle and heart.” —Lidia Yuknavitch, “A Year in Reading,” The Millions

“Mailhot’s memoir is one to sit with and absorb slowly, chapter by chapter . . . It’s a beautiful read with a deep emotional breadth.” —Shondaland

“There is some word we have not invented yet that means honesty to the hundredth power, that means courage, exponentially extended, that means I will flay myself for my art, for my survival, for my family, to keep breathing, to keep writing, to keep being alive. Inside that opening is beauty beyond all measure, the truth that art was invented to carry, and power enough to light the word. This book is that kind of opening.” —Pam Houston, author of Contents May Have Shifted

Heart Berries makes me think of a quote I have always loved: ‘Beauty is truth, truth beauty’ (Keats). With a keen eye for intense truth and thoroughly crafted beauty, Mailhot’s debut sings like poetry, and stays with you long after you’ve finished the last page.” —Katherena Vermette, award-winning author of The Break

Heart Berries is phenomenal. I finished the book and went right back to the beginning to read through once again; my understanding deepened, as did the mystery. Mailhot’s voice is so clear, so disruptive, so assured, and always so mesmerizingly poetic—it somehow startles and lulls all at once. I was KNOCKED DOWN.” —Justin Torres, author of We the Animals

“Unearthing medicine and receiving power requires you to give your life, and in her debut memoir, Mailhot fearlessly delivers. By turns tender, sad, angry, and funny, Heart Berries is a thought-provoking, powerful exploration of what it means to be a contemporary Indigenous woman and mother.” —Eden Robinson, author of the Scotiabank Giller Prize short-listed novel Son of a Trickster

“In this debut memoir, Terese Marie Mailhot sends across generations a love letter to women considered difficult. She sends a manifesto toward remembering—culture and heartbreak and laughter. She writes to the men who love these women. She writes prose tight as a perfect sheet, tucked. These stories hold equal parts heartbreak and laughter. To read this book is to engage with one of our very best minds at work.” —Toni Jensen, author of From the Hilltop

“This book reads like a wildfire. Full of ferocious intellect, searing emotion, and fearless self-examination, Terese Marie Mailhot’s memoir surges through the complexity and conflict of love, trauma, identity, and mental illness with language that crackles and burns right off the page. I was blown open reading her honest dispatches of life with her mother, the madness of romantic heartbreak, and her ventures toward love and stability. Brave is an easy word to describe this book, but it isn’t enough. Resilient, courageous, powerful, aware, alive, unforgettable; this slender memoir is huge.” —Julie Wernersbach, literary director of the Texas Book Festival

“Some books need us more than we need them. Others, the rare ones, are gifts that restore potency to language, confront trauma with wiliness and craft, and revitalize the world. Heart Berries is one these rare books.” —Stephen Sparks, Point Reyes Books (Point Reyes Station, CA)

“Over twenty years have passed since Mary Karr’s Liars’ Club burst on the scene and delivered an electric shock to the memoir. I’d say that’s just about the appropriate amount of time for the dust to have settled enough to create the perfect environment in which Terese Marie Mailhot’s debut, Heart Berries, could reawaken the genre once more. I’m not sure mental illness or America’s pastime of indigenous exploitation has been tackled with such ferocity and honesty before. Mailhot has a knack for hiding poems within her prose, and each chapter sings with spine-chilling exactness. I found myself rereading almost every passage enough to where I had nearly read the book twice by the time I got to the end. Take my (and Sherman Alexie’s) word here: Mailhot is a damn good voice—one to watch for many years to come.” —John Gibbs, Green Apple Books on the Park (San Francisco, CA)

Heart Berries is a slender jewel of a memoir written by a wholly original and unexpected new voice. I have never read anyone like Terese Marie Mailhot—each page delivers new and delightful ways to play with words and sentence structure, in an extremely natural and organic way (nothing overwritten or precious here). It doesn’t feel like it was written so much as physically extracted from her body like a root, gnarled and dirty and honest and beautiful. I cried, and laughed, and never wanted it to end. I can’t wait to see what she does next.” —Leah Cushman, Powell’s Books (Portland, OR)

“In a time of memoirs that, at best, help a reader know what vulnerability and facing down fear are, Terese Marie Mailhot’s cathartic, moving Heart Berries, is one of the bravest and most fearless of such books. Her coming of age on a First Nation reservation, Seabird Island, in Canada, is particular to that vividly evoked place, but also carries larger universal lessons for the human spirit, its survival, its enduring every kind of trial and difficulty, to find meaning, dignity, and beauty. A necessary book.” —Rick Simonson, Elliott Bay Book Company

“Terese Mailhot delivers one of the most poetic and heartbreaking memoirs I have read this year. Her prose and form take the typical memoir and turn it on its head. Unsurprisingly, she was one of Sherman Alexie’s students, and shows the same inventiveness of style. Heart Berries is a beautiful and painful ode to struggles as a Native woman. I treasured Mailhot’s words and ability to openly share her unique yet universal struggles as an indigenous person.” —Kate Laubernds, Powell’s Books (Portland, OR)

“Terese is a Native American from the Seabird Island Indian Reservation in the Pacific Northwest. This gripping memoir is a no-holds-barred expression of her mental illness as she tries to come to grips with her dysfunctional family and the abuse she suffered as a child. Not only was she physically abused by family, but the cultural abuse she also experienced is gut wrenching. She is able to articulate the pain she feels and at times it is difficult to be in the place she resides, but her story is so compelling and her voice is so authentic that I was mesmerized by her experience. She writes beautifully and is so expressive. This is a story that needs to be read, and in a world where diversity is the word of the day, it is important to view her perspective and have compassion for all that she has endured.” —Stephanie Crowe, Page and Palette (Fairhope, AL)

Heart Berries is slim but so potent. I found myself seized and unnerved by Mailhot’s piercing command of language, and her courage in reforming her life’s narrative. She’s destined to become a must-read for those who’ve loved the work of writers like Mary Karr, Sherman Alexie, and Roxane Gay.” —Leigh Atkins, Kepler’s (Menlo Park, CA)

“This is the boldest kind of writing because it speaks directly to people. Terese Marie Mailhot addresses numerous people she has loved in her life—a mother, a father, a lover, and others—and in doing so, she gets right to the core of it: what it feels like to love, to accept love, despite our and its limitations. Heart Berries is a deep, wrenching, searching sort of book, and it contains impossibly raw, yet seamless, sentences: ‘You think weakness is a problem. I want to be torn apart by everything.’ It isn’t sensational. To call anything in this memoir ‘sensational’ would be to eschew its logic. Everything in Heart Berries rings true to me. Many upturned stones appeared familiar, felt new. This writing is tactile. Though it deals in questions of love, health, grief, inheritance, and shame, it gave me something to hold.” —Will Walton, Avid Bookshop (Athens, GA)

“A poetic, absorbing memoir about love, trauma, shame, and mental illness. A beautiful and unsettling read.” —Lexi Beach, Astoria Bookshop (Astoria, NY)

“This is not ordinarily the sort of book I pick up, but I found it powerful and disturbing and heart-wrenching to read. Mailhot writes her madness in an extraordinarily compelling way, one that viscerally portrays the abuse and trauma at the heart of her story. Every time I went to put it down, I found myself compelled to pick it up again.” —Jenny Craig, librarian, Seattle Public Library

“I feel completely inadequate in writing a review of something from such a place of unique heart-wrenching perspective, obsession, anguish, and culture. I think Sherman [Alexie]’s intro and his own fumbling for enough exclamation points to endorse [Mailhot’s] writing kind of sums up my own response . . . What a courageous book.” ––Jesica Sweedler DeHart, Neill Public Library (Pullman, WA)

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