Read Self-Portrait in Green by Marie NDiaye Jordan Stump Online


It seems there is no genre of writing Marie NDiaye will not make her own. Asked to write a memoir, she turned in this paranoid fantasia of rising floodwaters, walking corpses, eerie depictions of her very own parents, and the incessant reappearance of women in green. Just who are these green women? They are powerful (one was NDiaye’s disciplinarian grade-school teacher). TIt seems there is no genre of writing Marie NDiaye will not make her own. Asked to write a memoir, she turned in this paranoid fantasia of rising floodwaters, walking corpses, eerie depictions of her very own parents, and the incessant reappearance of women in green. Just who are these green women? They are powerful (one was NDiaye’s disciplinarian grade-school teacher). They are mysterious (one haunts a house like a ghost and may be visible only to the author). They are seductive (one stole a friend’s husband). And they are unbearably personal (one is NDiaye’s own mother). They are all, in their way, aspects of their creator, at once frightening, menacing, and revealing of everything submerged within the consciousness of this singular literary talent. A courageous, strikingly honest, and unabashedly innovative self-portrait, NDiaye’s kaleidoscopic look at the women in green is a revelation to us all — about how we form our identities, how we discover those things we repress, and how our obsessions become us....

Title : Self-Portrait in Green
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781931883399
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 120 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Self-Portrait in Green Reviews

  • Justin Evans
    2019-02-24 15:45

    An astonishing, strange work. Our narrator encounters numerous 'green women.' "Who can deny that cruelty is particularly given to draping itself in all sorts of greens?" The green women are ontologically indeterminate; perhaps they're projections, perhaps they're supernatural creatures, perhaps they're ordinary women who happen to be wearing green. Their identity is indeterminate: are they body-snatchers, or are they who they claim to be (the narrator's friend, or mother, and so on), or are they actually the narrator herself? So far so interesting, but Self-Portrait sets itself apart by its darkness. What could have become an easily affirmative "we're all women in this together" tale instead offers us, as in the quote above, cruelty, terror, fear, guilt, and discomfort. Whatever the problem is, you won't find it outside of you unless you also find it inside of you.

  • Cait Cole
    2019-03-12 07:28

    I just can't get over how good Marie NDiaye is. Her prose are so beautiful, I can't put her books down once I start reading. She is a truly gifted writer.

  • Stephen
    2019-03-21 11:46

    The first NDiaye I read and it's left me wanting more. Self-Portrait in Green is beguiling, if a little slight and maybe just too elliptical. NDiaye's sentences are incredible, and there's a wariness in her prose that leaves me slightly on edge. Looking forward to more of her work.

  • Frau Naijn
    2019-03-06 09:41

    i had this book laying around for a while now, had started reading it and stopped. today I just started and finished it within 2 hours... I couldn't stop reading even though I'm not sure if I fully understood it. it's a weird start into the new year but maybe it somehow mirrored my feelings ... I've read the German version because my French isn't good enough but I have the feeling it lost some of it's magic with the translation.

  • James
    2019-03-12 07:24

    not quite what one expects when reading a memoir, though with Ndiaye one probably learns to cease expecting and just enjoy the writing... this was an odd little book a bit of daily journal-ish intermixed with fantastical elements about green women who seem to manifest in alarmingly diverse ways... not quite sure i would even call this a memoir, since it has little to set it in place/time besides the arbitrarily listed places/dates that could as well be as made up as the aforementioned green women... strange, for sure, but with such a wonderful ability with words it hardly matters how non-genre this book actually appears...

  • Lisa Serrano
    2019-03-22 10:45

    I love the beautiful writing. All I see is color, but not simply by seeing them.

  • Leabhair
    2019-03-03 09:37

    Perplexing, grim, disorienting. I don't envy her family. Don't expect I'll read it a second time.

  • Bryan
    2019-03-10 09:53

    It turns out Marie NDiaye's life is exactly like a Marie NDiaye novel. Fascinating.

  • M
    2019-03-06 15:45

    Personal copy received as part of subscription to Two Lines Press.Shortly after I finished reading this book, I checked my Twitter feed and was led to the J. Paul Getty Pinterest gallery of Museum Selfies , a collection of artist's self-portraits.What is a self-portrait? Is it the way the artist sees him/herself? Is it the way the artist wants to be perceived by the world? Is it a way to explain the artist's life and work? Or perhaps it is an artistic exercise. How close to the truth does the artist dare go?French author Marie NDiaye was born in France, her mother was French, her father Senegalese. Her father left the family early on (Marie did not meet him until she was a teenager).It is not a surprise, then, that the narrator of Self-Portrait in Green is a French writer from a broken French/African family. How much of the "self-portrait" is true, how much is imagination, how much is delusion is not at all clear. It's much like the murky water of the Garonne River which flows through the background of the portrait, threatening to flood and inundate the settlements along it banks. As the river rises, the narrator muses on a series of mysterious women in green that flow through her life and perplex, intrigue, and haunt her.Who are these women in green? Are they real? Are they manifestations of the narrator's self identity? One is daring, jumping of balconies but not in a suicidal fashion, she knows she'll come to no harm. Another is suicidal. Some are people known to the narrator, others are strangers.NDiaye's writing is visual, painting mini-portraits and landscapes that take you into her world. On a rare visit with her mother the narrator observes:Whenever she lets down her guard, I see her eyes darting uneasily this way and that, never looking straight she's not wearing one. Seeing that I've seen her, she furrows her brow.Then there is the neighbor Katia who takes refuge with the narrator's family when the lower floors of her house are flooded: An absolute woman in green, Katia Depetiteville never shows any trace of gratitude for a favor that's been done her. Comfortably settled in with us, she exercises her rights as a houseguest with a voracity, almost a brutality, that I never see when I stop by her place for a cup of coffee, when the monotony of her life and the dreariness of her house so weigh on her that a gentle numbness is all she's capable of. Now she's come back to life, she speaks out, butts in with her opinions, lets herself be served and coddled.There is a harshness in many of these descriptions. There is also a detachment from reality in the encounters with the women in green (some of them are family members). When visiting her father, she sees the desperateness of her father's wife to get out of a miserable situation and return to France. She could help her, but she doesn't. Later she wonders of the woman did manage to leave, but she doesn't seem to care enough to find out. The same with a much younger half-sister: she wonders what happened to her but makes little effort to find her. Instead, she dreams that maybe several years in the future the sister will show up on her doorstep.Green is often the color associated with envy. Our narrator, at time, seems envious of the women in green. She is certainly drawn to them. She doesn't want to lose them. She may want to become one of them.This is a book that is as strange as its cover art; all those green branches reaching out and touching nothing. They are somewhat entwined as they leave the stalk, they seem to promise to get back together, but they never really connect.This one goes on my TBRR (to be re read) shelf.

  • Jerrod
    2019-03-20 09:53

    A profoundly strange memoir drunk on myth and estrangement.The recurrence of the color green returns it to an elemental state, in which it is pregnant with meaning that is unstable but transfixing, inscrutable but revelatory.There is a revolving structure to this story, which tracks the evolution of a woman through the people (primarily other women) and circumstances against which she comes to define herself and the world she cannot help but inhabit deeply and with great sensitivity.The reader comes away aware that myth and fiction may be the spine of our lives, but they also unmoor, and leave us dwelling in an ultimate position of doubt and submission--to mystery and transience.

  • William Braun
    2019-03-02 14:32

    Of the books I've read recently, Self-Portrait reminds me of Valerie Luiselli's Faces in the Crowd and perhaps also of Elena Ferrante's The Days of Abandonment. From the first: the whispery narrator, the ghostly presences, the superposition of fact and fiction, a story told in layers of time. From the second: the claustrophobia of family life, the insanity of small spaces, the edge of bitterness in everything.

  • Sami Wax
    2019-02-22 13:35

    I picked up this book on a whim because I saw it on few best of 2014 lists. Little did I know, I'd be entirely gripped for half a day to read the entire memoir. NDiaye paints a picture of four women in green, whether clothed in green or emitting green from within. These women haunt and inspire her, while guiding the reader through a story of subjective reality.

  • Julie Freed
    2019-03-14 07:32

    This one - this morning - one sitting ... Mysterious, elegant, French, and oh so beautiful. Treat your soul!

  • Jeremy
    2019-03-24 07:27

    The memory of this book slowly dissolves into green, mutable, a formless dream that seemingly left no imprint upon my psyche, despite some elegant sentences...2.5...

  • Rebecca H.
    2019-03-21 14:48

    You can find my review over at Necessary Fiction:

  • Tobias
    2019-03-14 11:48

    Good, meditative, evocative work here.

  • Dearwassily
    2019-03-10 10:48

    What a strange little book.