This "haunted, hauntingly beautiful"* memoir is a "dazzling exploration of love between generations and between partners."** When the Black Madonna erupts like a volcano in the life of Joan Weimer, an agnostic Jew, this black-faced image of the Virgin Mary triggers painful memories of Joan's dead mother and threatens to estrange Joan from her husband, a committed atheist.
As she tracks down the Black Madonna at her shrines in Switzerland, Italy, England and Spain; as she walks ancient labyrinths in churches and commons, Joan's outer journey makes possible a profound inner journey. With the help of a woman rabbi, she discovers that her mother's fitful love and the spiritual force that seem to come and go are both like flowing water: they abide even while they are moving on.
*James Hollis, author of Finding Meaning in the Second Half of Life
**Mary Felstiner, author of Out of Joint: A Private & Public Story of Arthritis
Joan Weimer's memoir Back Talk: Teaching Lost Selves to Speak was published by Random House and won a star from Kirkus Reviews as a "powerful, inspiring memoir written with humor, insight, and a gripping gift for detail." She won the McGinness Award for nonfiction and was chosen as the Frey Foundation Distinguished Visiting Professor at the University of North Carolina. Weimer is a professor emerita of English at Drew University where she taught American literature, Women's Studies and creative writing.