A Partial List of Comments on Jane Lazarre's Books: Writers and Reviews
Beyond the Whiteness of Whiteness
"An important affirmation of a white woman's love of her black sons. Jane Lazarre, warrior mom, has crossed over."
"This is a passionate, provocative, and moving narrative that should be on every American's reading list."
"In the end there is the great gift of being taken into the life of American black culture. On the way there, this mother and child - the most intimate of relationships from infancy - has no public or political recognition for years. A kind of love story and useful as well to people in interracial lives and families."
"Through the profoundly human caring of this book; its luminous beauty, passionate authenticity, truth and power; its multi-lensed and sourced hard-wrung wisdom - and yes, through the art with which it is written - we see, we feel, understand what we never have before, the ways of the Whiteness of Whiteness; and we are challenged, enlarged, and enabled, as was Jane Lazarre, to move beyond."
"Beyond the Whiteness of Whiteness will be the classic Lazarre's Mother Knot has become, a book in which a piece of American experience gets its full telling, a necessary book."
"...breaks new ground in using the memoir genre to examine constructs of race and the history of racism in the United States..."
Maureen T. Reddy
"This insightful Jewish mother opens our eyes to the pervasiveness of racism in our culture - a reality that Jews and other whites easily ignore."
Rabbi Rachel Cowan
"An illuminating book...offers invaluable insights not just for those working to raise children in biracial families, but for all who would like to understand the notion of whiteness in order to see beyond it and reach for fairness."
Boyd Zenner, Women's Review of Books
"A novelist, essayist and teacher, Lazarre presents her troubling but clear-eyes vision of her life and times with incisiveness and grace."
John Gregory Brown, Chicago Tribune
"A beautifully written, deeply thoughtful journey into the worlds of self and other."
"Lazarre's voice is artful and measured...substantial food for thought for both white and black perspectives on the murky issue of race in America."
"Powerful, moving and beautifully written..."
Richard L. Zweigenhaft, Greensboro News and Record
"A powerful and poetic narrative that seems to float on a shifting surface of emotion. Memory seems buried, or drowned. Yet it breaks through. The novel strengthened my hope that art can stiffen our spines and shape up our thinking and feeling around race. Desire and love are radical and dangerous, and the ongoing effort to write seems like a rescue mission, a deep diving and life saving mission."
"This book is simply wonderful. Lazarre has woven a rich tapestry in which the past insists on itself in the lives of several American families. Beautifully orchestrated, her white characters must confront racism because of their love for black husbands, children, sisters, friends and teachers. Their journey from slavery to the present is unforgettably rendered. A fierce and honest novel that once again proves the searing truth of fiction."
"Persimmon Tree, an on-line magazine for older women, published quarterly in association with Mills College, is honored to include in its premier issue an excerpt from Jane Lazarre's unpublished novel, Inheritance. This beautifully written story reveals the subtleties of emotion that exist between white and Black people who love each other but have to navigate the incomprehensibility and ugliness of racial discrimination. A gripping story, it shows how the themes of race play out in the most personal ways."
Nan Gefen, Publisher, Persimmon Tree
Some Place Quite Unknown
"Some Place Quite Unknown is as intimate and urgent as a confessional poem. Lazarre's enraptured and lyrical prose probes, with admirable rigor and dazzling artistry, the deepest places of a woman's heart. This is a powerful and original work."
"A beautiful, profound and original novel...I could delve into it over and over and each time be freshly rewarded...Lazarre's prose is stunning, as lyrical and metaphoric as it is multifaceted, and the journey of following her intricate interweaving of ideas and storytelling is akin to reading The Golden Notebook or Simone de Beauvoir's The Mandarins...This is a contemporary classic."
"...as intimate as a memoir, as beautifully worded as a piece of poetry - looks like a quiet book on the surface, but it's much more. It's a whisper that leaves the main character Celia's throat and grabs hold of the reader's."
"...Deliberate in its interweaving of narrative, dream and a questing, questioning first person voice, Lazarre's latest novel delves into the nature of the mind, adaptive amnesia, the dioramas of therapy, and the importance of personal history. . . a deeply moving story. . . "
Gently Read Literature
Wet Earth and Dreams
"She has it right! Perhaps even workers in the field will learn something about how patients feel. Thank you Jane Lazarre from all of us..."
"Jane Lazarre has always been one of our bravest writers. She once again makes an art of raw fierce honesty as she moves through encounters with pain, loss, illness and death."
"A moving book crafted with exquisite care by a remarkable woman."
"Jane Lazarre's voice sustains me though the terror of my own most grievous losses. her spiraling narrative shows how grief that seemed a wall can become a door."
The Mother Knot
"A wholly original and important book...I cannot imagine a woman who would not be moved, or a man who would not be enlightened."
"The Mother Knot deserves a permanent place in the stirring body of testimonial literature American feminism has given rise to."
"Reading The Mother Knot more than twenty years after its first publication, I am struck by how contemporary this terrific book seems - it is a modern feminist classic, certain to leave its readers changed from the experience of reading seldom spoken truths."
Maureen T. Reddy
The Powers of Charlotte
"There is a marvelous amplitude, a sensual, moral, caring dimension, a dense substance to this life embracing novel. As expected of the author of the pioneering Mother Knot, mothering, children, are present with immediacy, depth, truth, almost no other writers summon, but this is far more. Those children, the young, the ripening, the coming to be old, the successor young are evoked for us - as is Charlotte herself - through the saga of her erotic, emotional, intellectual artist-being - a wonderful achievement. Set into the changing societal context bordered by mystery, beauty and death, the result is rare to come out of literature; tenderness for life, respect for human beings - power indeed."
"A Powerful novel containing most of the things most women care about most."
New Directions for Women
"Lazarre weaves her drama of family relations with a focus on art and sexuality, and all the messy ambiguities that characterize real life."
"A beautifully written tour de force of a novel in the spirit of Doris Lessing and Margaret Atwood."
American Book Review
Worlds Beyond My Control
"Jane Lazarre's new book is a special sort of literary adventure. It has the rich, dense texture of life itself."
Lynne Sharon Schwartz
"Jane Lazarre has written a wonderful novel - generous, wise, brave and enthralling."
"Lazarre combines the genres of fiction and memoir to weave a work that is quite unique. Maybe sublime."
On Loving Men
"A very contemporary document. Meditative, often lyrical...compassionate and honest."
The New York Times Book Review
"I've read so many books by now in which women have written in blood and bitterness about their experience with men that it came as a relief to see how someone is managing to reconcile conflicting feelings without rancour. I saw myself and a dozen of my friends in the woman she writes about."
Some Kind of Innocence
"...a perfect matching of subject and form...The dignity, spareness, the fairness and compassion for everyone in the story make it a delight to read...At her best, Lazarre takes chances which few of today's fiction writers, more mannered and strategic, would."