The Ladies Gallery: A Memoir of Family Secrets
"Lolita Lebró n's granddaughter, heir to the most public female embodiment of heroic self-sacrifice in Puerto Rico in this century, [has written] a memoir full of searing, intimate truths, silences broken open to reveal the personal costs of public myth making. . . . A momentous act of courage. "
-- The Women's Review of Books
A shred of black lace. A broken hand mirror. A spidery strip of false eyelash. These are the fragments left to Irene Vilar, granddaughter of Lolita Lebró n, the revered martyr for Puerto Rican independence who in 1954 sprayed the U.S. House of Representatives with gunfire. In The Ladies' Gallery, Vilar revisits the legacy of her grandmother and that of her anguished mother, who leapt from a speeding car when Vilar was eight. Eleven years after her mother's death, Vilar awakens in a psychiatric hospital and begins to face the devastating inheritance of abandonment and suicide passed down to her from grandmother and mother.
Alternating between Vilar's notes from the psychiatric ward and the unraveling of her family's secrets, this razor-sharp memoir of three generations of Puerto Rican women is urgent, impassioned, unforgettable.
"An autobiography as fantastic as any novel. "
"Profoundly moving [and] beautifully written".
--Rosario Ferre, author of The House on the Lagoon
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