The Book of Mechtilde
A beautiful modern-day illuminated manuscript created by a young Jamaican artist who weaves together in words and paintings the story of her mother's life and death. Anna Ruth Henriques began the extraordinary pages that would become The Book of Mechtilde at the kitchen table in her grandparents' house outside Kingston, Jamaica, where she grew up. She was twenty-two years old, and for the next seven years she worked on it as an act of love, to both celebrate and mourn her mother, Sheila Mechtilde Henriques, who had died of breast cancer when Anna was eleven years old. Inspired by texts from the Book of Job, Anna tells her mother's story - her youth, her love for her husband and their happy marriage, the birth of her daughters, her slow illness, death, and final peace - all in the form of a fable, sometimes in prose, sometimes in poetry. Each scene is illustrated with a painting encircled with calligraphy and set in a gold border of flowers, fruit, or symbolic creatures. Both the story and the paintings are enriched by Anna's remarkable family heritage - Jewish and Christian, European, African, Chinese, Indian, and Creole - and by her amazing drive to use her enormous artistic gifts to transform loss into a passionate celebration of life.
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ALFRED aloud amongst Anna Ruth Henriques began The Book Berryville bestowed blessed Book of Job Book of Mechtilde bore break Breastless chest brought cancer Caribbean chair cloud Copyright corpse Darkness death disease drink drowned Duppy Kingdom exile eyes faith family and friends father fear feet fingers floor fortitude Frutiger future husband gave birth gaze gone grandfather grandfather's grandmother grandparents grey grow strong hated the night head heart ill ft Jamaica knew KNOPF lamentation Land lifted light lived mango tree Mechtilde's memory misfortune Moon mother Mourn notebook offspring pain painted peace presence quench rain remaining Roissy sands seats Selah sentiment shadows Sheila Mechtilde Shuffling silence Sing sisters sleep slowly softly solitude song Sorrow spoke speak strength Swallowed tears television thanksgiving thirst three daughters told took typeface typeface designed Wash Weep wept Wise Woman Women