Possessing the Secret of Joy

Possessing the Secret of Joy Possessing the Secret of Joy is the story of Tashi a tribal African woman who lives much of her adult life in North America As a young woman a misguided loyalty to the customs of her people led her

  • Title: Possessing the Secret of Joy
  • Author: Alice Walker
  • ISBN: null
  • Page: 428
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Possessing the Secret of Joy is the story of Tashi, a tribal African woman who lives much of her adult life in North America As a young woman, a misguided loyalty to the customs of her people led her to voluntarily submit to the tsunga s knife and be genitally mutilated pharoanoically circumcised Severely traumatized by this experience, she spends the rest of her lifePossessing the Secret of Joy is the story of Tashi, a tribal African woman who lives much of her adult life in North America As a young woman, a misguided loyalty to the customs of her people led her to voluntarily submit to the tsunga s knife and be genitally mutilated pharoanoically circumcised Severely traumatized by this experience, she spends the rest of her life battling madness, trying desperately through psychotherapy she is treated by disciples of both Freud and C.G Jung, and even by Jung himself to regain the ability to recognize her own reality and to feel It is only with the help of the most unlikely ally she can imagine that she begins to study the mythological reasons invented by her ancient ancestors for what was done to her and to millions of other women and girls over thousands of years As her understanding grows, so does her capacity to encounter her overwhelming grief Underneath this grief is her glowing anger Anger propels her to act Action brings both feeling life, the ability to exist with awareness in the moment and death, of which she finds she has completely lost her fear.While not a sequel to The Color Purple or The Temple of My Familiar, Possessing the Secret of Joy follows the life of a barely glimpsed character from those books Combining fact and fiction, communing with the spirits of the living and the dead, Alice Walker in this novel strikes with graceful power at the heart of one of the most controversial issues of our time.

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      Published :2019-04-16T18:59:29+00:00

    About “Alice Walker

    • Alice Walker

      Alice Walker, one of the United States preeminent writers, is an award winning author of novels, stories, essays, and poetry In 1983, Walker became the first African American woman to win a Pulitzer Prize for fiction with her novel The Color Purple, which also won the National Book Award Her other books include The Third Life of Grange Copeland, Meridian, The Temple of My Familiar, and Possessing the Secret of Joy In her public life, Walker has worked to address problems of injustice, inequality, and poverty as an activist, teacher, and public intellectual.

    241 thoughts on “Possessing the Secret of Joy

    • "There was a boulder lodged in my throat. My heart surged pitifully. I knew what the boulder was; that it was a word; and that behind that word I would find my earliest emotions.”- Alice Walker, Possessing the Secret of JoyTashi, an African woman from the Olinkan tribe, marries Adam, an American man, and spends most of her life in America. Witnessing her sister, Dura, die from a botched female genital mutilation (FGM) surgery, as well as undergoing FGM herself, Tashi becomes traumatized and ha [...]


    • Picked this book up for a dime on a bookshelf full of unappealing books outside of a library. I believe that I took it because I knew that Alice Walker is a reputable writer, but I didn't even read the back cover. It's been sitting on my shelf for a few years and I'd completely forgotten about it. I picked it up two nights ago and WOWThe subject of genital mutilation has been dormant in conversations in my world lately, and I welcome the opportunity to be awakened to important concerns in the wo [...]


    • I appreciated Walker putting a human face on a culture that adopted the practice of “female genital mutilation.” But it bothers me some that she created a fictional culture, the Olinka tribe, to play out the drama of a people that has long adopted the practice. Trying for a universal or pan-Africa perspective I suppose, while avoiding painting a particular real culture to serious social commentary. The book kicks off a quote about Tashi from “The Color Purple”, who as a young immigrant i [...]


    • Read years ago, but still remember this powerful read. Walkers description of female genital mutilation is so disturbing, it is indelibly imprinted in my mind.


    • Back in the early Nineties, there was a story in our local newspaper about female circumcision that was published because of the release of Possessing the Secret of Joy by Alice Walker. It was a practice I had never heard of before, and I was both horrified and fascinated. I read it as soon as I could. Now, after more than 15 years, I still remember how emotional this book was. (I don't know what possessed me to think of it today.) With Possessing the Secret of Joy, Walker proves that fiction ca [...]


    • i am, doubtless, doing a grave injustice to this book, which will be probably rectified the moment i read reviews and secondary material on it. but i have a prejudice against alice walker. she seems to me, for an accumulation of reasons none of which sits discreetly in my mind, identifiable, a sloppy writer. say this book. the story is powerful and powerfully told. but then there's a whole lot of anthropology thrown in, and some etymology, and some sort of grand historical theory of patriarchy a [...]


    • This is my second reading of this book. The first was nearly 20 years ago and all I really recalled was thinking I should hold on to the book because I would read it again.Since I am a very different person now that when I was in my early twenties - I experienced this book very differently. The first read was an introduction to genital mutilation, let alone it's different forms, the cultural significance, the consideration of the psychological ramifications for anyone involved - I was amazed and [...]


    • Opening line - 'I did not realise for a long time that I was dead.'#PossessingTheSecretOfJoy * "My wife is hurt, I say. Wounded. Broken. Not mad. Evelyn laughs. Flinging her head back in deliberate challenge. The laugh is short. Sharp. The bark of a dog. Beyond hurt. Unquestionably mad. Oddly free." *Driven by emotion rather than intellect Tashi (Evelyn) undergoes female circumcision in her teen years. Despite the subject matter, this is surprisingly easy to read yet raw at times. The procedure, [...]


    • Oh, I say. These settler cannibals. Why don't they just steal our land, mine our gold, chop down our forests, pollute our rivers, enslave us to work on their farms, fuck us, devour our flesh and leave us alone? Why must they also write about how much joy we possess?I can't wait to read something like this that was written in reaction to Black Lamb and Grey Falcon. If I had to take a drink every time another treacle-tart infantalization brought upon by the complete refusal to both learn a new lan [...]


    • This was the toughest book for me to finish. It was recommended to me by several friends whose judgment in books reflected mine, but I kept putting it off. The novel's subject, female genital mutilation, cannot be sugar-coated, nor should it be. Alice Walker does a unbelievable job of kicking your apathetic butt into gear. You will be angry, unbelievably angry. Angry enough to figure out what you can do to stop this, frustrated that the practice is still going on and tolerated by societies wholl [...]


    • The story of Tashi from The Color Purple, the African woman who undergoes female genital mutilation as a teenager, a traditional practice intended to control her sexuality, leaving her emotionally and physically scarred. It’s a pretty tough read, with scenes that sear themselves into your brain and, although it falls short of perfection, needs to be commended for tackling a sensitive topic not often addressed. The Egyptian writer Nawal El Saadawi, who underwent female genital mutilation as a y [...]


    • I read this book close to its first publication date. I will reveal my total ignorance here--I did not realize that the subject of this book was 'real', as in actually happening, until I was more than halfway thru the book. That realization was quite a shock! In my defense, probably 98 percent of the US population at the time had never heard of female circumcision (as it was then called).In light of that, perhaps one star of my rating might be attributed to the torrent of emotion released within [...]


    • I picked up this book in 2015 because I liked Tashi's character in The Color Purple and wanted to read more about her. Unfortunately she's barely recognizable here, and the two books almost seem like they were written by different authors. For starters, the style is extremely different; The Color Purple has a fairly straightforward narrative structure, while Possessing the Secret of Joy is a fragmented jumble of viewpoints and chronology. And of course, the prevailing theme of Possessing the Sec [...]


    • I started this book before years ago and couldn't finish. Finished because this was a bookclub section and I thought it jumped from too many POVs and time periods.


    • There's no question that a practice that mutilates women with the goal of making them look like Barbie dolls--i.e with a flat, featureless landscape instead of actual genitalia--is inhumane and nothing that should be condoned as "tradition." The problem, however, with Possessing the Secret Joy, a novel about Tashi, a woman who has suffered this brutal practice and continues to struggle with the physical and emotional scars for many decades after, is that the narrative structure is messy and lack [...]


    • Oh my heart, my heart, my feminist heart. There are very few authors who affect me as deeply as Alice Walker does.And FGM infuriates me more than any other misogynistic cultural practice. I'm most assuredly not a cultural relativist. If a culture (including religions) perpetuates the subordination of females, it is simply abominable. Males must develop ways of germinating (*haha*) self-worth beyond the ones that base status on one's ability to possess and dominate females (and other males).Alice [...]


    • In 1991 Alice Walker first published the novel, Possessing the Secret of Joy. It introduced many readers to the ruthless, painful technique known as female genital mutilation (FMG) or female circumcision, suffered by 90 to 100 million women worldwide. Because the subject had long been taboo among those groups who practice it as well as throughout the rest of the world, the book was taken out of print. But fortunately for modern readers and current sufferers everywhere, Ms. Walker and others bega [...]


    • The book details the life of an African girl, Tashi, from her youth through marriage - she meets the son and a daughter of missionaries and becomes friends with them - although still seeking acceptance from her village. The author, Alice Walker, gives us a unique perspective for each of the characters in each chapter. We see the wonderful youthful girl enjoying a crush and feeling the splendor of sex in the grass - yet - we learn that women in that village practice genital circumcision on every [...]


    • Such a moving novel that centers around Tashi (from The Color Purple and the horrific custom of female genital mutilation. Possessing the Secret of Joy is, as far as I know, is the first novel to illustrate the beliefs, effects, practices, and horrors behind FGM. Tashi represents the "every woman" who takes a stand for women's rights, but only after she chooses to undergo circumcision as a young woman. The book is broken into many short chapters, each one narrated by a different character in the [...]


    • I have never written a review before but after reading this I feel like I can't not say anything. This book made me feel so much and so intensely, I know the story is a work of fiction but the events and the horror that happens in the book is so terribly factual that it made me feel sick whilst reading it.It is a fast read in terms of content, however I could not sit for hours at a time because it took energy from me; I found myself taking regular breaks to reflect and, if I'm honest, cry. The t [...]


    • Very disjointed, character-driven story telling in which the plot itself is a mystery that is slowly revealed by numerous, inter-related characters at various points in time. When the puzzle finally comes together, it still feels like pieces are missing. Connections between female circumcision in Africa, sexism, political oppression, and AIDS are powerfully argued, but the motivation behind characters' actions are often obscure.


    • I was deeply disappointed in Alice Walker when she wrote this book. Her motives, I think, were genuine but her method was problematic for me. Her commentary on a very complicated issue is very limited, not to mention, biased. It's another post-modern tragedy. A third-wave feminist critique gone wrong. I love you Alice, I just don't agree with how you went about this one


    • the writing wasn't that bad but the pov changed a lot so that was really confusing.I don't like books about slaves so that's one of the big reasons i don't like it.


    • I must read more books by this woman.And every conscientious person that is concerned about cruelty to women should be aware of the issues written about in this book.


    • i'm not sure i did read this book, though i could see myself starting it and then putting it down is a good book but sad. female genital mutilation, as the author puts it, is not only harmful to the individual but to the whole society.



    • Like the modern German who, wanting to rise above the past and enter a new age of normalcy, must open the wounds of the Holocaust and come to terms with its legacy and its indelible mark of Cain, Alice Walker opens a tremendous, but previously hidden wound for African-Americans (and humans in general) who look to Africa for self-evaluation and identity (for we are all 'Africans' in the evolutionary sense): female genital mutilation. Ms. Walker shines a blistering halogen light on this unbelievab [...]


    • I don't even know how to begin reviewing this book?Well, I picked up this book because currently I'm doing a research paper on female circumcision (or genital mutilation, however you choose to see it). and while fictitious, the reality of the issue as put forward by our protagonist's Evelyn/Tashi struggles is painfully real.The book poses many questions about how to put yourself back together after having being initiated you are broken apart, pieces of you forever leaving you, why the practice c [...]


    • Back when THE COLOR PURPLE was all the rage, I read an interview with Alice Walker but had not read any of her books. Her arrogance so put me off that I did not give her a chance until now. I wish that I had waited even longer.One problem is that the subject is disturbing: female circumcision, though I call it mutilation. Walker's in-your-face approach made this story very hard to take (putting it this way was calculated, but also fair). Of course, it is a horrible practice that treats women as [...]


    • I appreciated The Color Purple for what it was. This book follows a similiar writing style from what I remember of TCP. I'm a little unclear of the actual time period, but I am thinking it's in the 1960's. It's following a missionary family in Africa and the relationships that results. It does jump around in time a little though. Warning--this book does address squeamish issues like female circumcision. So when I had about 50 pages to finish this book I really really really wanted to give it bac [...]


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