When your mother considers another country home, it’s hard to know where you belong. When the people you live among can’t pronounce your name, it’s hard to know exactly who you are. And when your body no longer feels like your own, it’s hard to understand your place in the world.
In Stubborn Archivist, a young British Brazilian woman from South London navigates growing up between two cultures and into a fuller understanding of her body, relying on signposts such as history, family conversation, and the eyes of the women who have shaped her—her mother, grandmother, and aunt. Our stubborn archivist takes us through first love and loss, losing and finding home, trauma and healing, and various awakenings of sexuality and identity. Shot through the novel are the narrator’s trips to Brazil, sometimes alone, often with family, where she accesses a different side of herself—one, she begins to realize, that is as much of who she is as anything else.
I am still gathering my thoughts as I am writing this blog post. Yara Rodrigues Fowler’s style was so unique to me. One thing I can say for sure is that I have never read something like Stubborn Archivist before.
Stubborn Archivist is the second book that I read with an unnamed protagonist after Margaret Atwood’s Surfacing. The whole storyline is disjointed, there’s no single plot that you can follow. Even the lines are fractured and doesn’t help build up to an ultimate story. Fowler’s writing style was so new and fresh for me that I had to take some time to get used to it. All these incomplete sentences were made to tell a complete story and the full impact of the book left me speechless.