The Pink Institution: A Novel

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Coffee House Press, 2004 - Fiction - 134 pages
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Interweaving visceral, atmospheric prose with historical photographs, images and texts, The Pink Institution

traces four generations of Mississippi women from their run-down, post-Civil War plantations to the modern-day trailer parks that house the youngest generations. As the impoverished decay of the Deep South expresses itself through their bloodlines, a new impression of Southern history and heritage emerges. The lyrical gravity and singular style of this unforgettable debut novel will transform the reader in its wake.

Selah Saterstrom's writing has appeared in 3rd Bed and Pitkin Review. She is the editor of Soul Collections, a collection of prose and poetry written by at-risk teenagers in North Carolina. Born in Mississippi in 1974, she now lives in Asheville, North Carolina, where she teaches at Warren Wilson College.

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The pink institution: a novel

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Saterstrom's remarkably daring debut is not so much a novel as a catalog of events that eventually gives shape to four generations of Mississippi women in the post-Confederate South. In Part 1, we ... Read full review

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This slender volume is an eye opener. What on earth is she doing? I wondered eyeing the white space, the omitted texts. And then I got it. If our personal memory is fragmented already, the past for sure is. History is fragmented, blank spots may appear when looking back. Selah Saterstrom knows how to glance in the mirror sideways to catch the moments of truth that propel the story of four generations of women forward. The cover tells you the book is a novel, and novel it is, with it's combination of poetry prose poetry and prose, and thoughtful illustrations this small book is a gem of experimental writing. 

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About the author (2004)

Selah Saterstrom is the author of The Pink Institution, a debut novel praised across the country for "letting gusts of fresh, tart air blow into the old halls of Southern Gothic" (Believer). A Mississippi native, she is currently on the faculty of the University of Denver's Creative Writing Program.

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