Lose Your Mother


A Journey Along the Atlantic Slave Route

Saidiya Hartman

  • Weight: 320 g
  • Number of Pages: 288
  • Binding: Paperback
  • Size: 5.5 x 8.5”
  • ISBN: 9788189059392
  • Restrictions: For sale in South Asia only
In Lose Your Mother, Saidiya Hartman journeys along a slave route in Ghana, following the trail of captives from the hinterland to the Atlantic coast. She retraces the history of the Atlantic slave trade from the fifteenth to the twentieth century and reckons with the blank slate of her own genealogy.
There were no survivors of Hartman’s lineage, nor far-flung relatives in Ghana of whom she had come in search. She traveled to Ghana in search of strangers. The most universal definition of the slave is a stranger torn from kin and country. To lose your mother is to suffer the loss of kin, to forget your past, and to inhabit the world as a stranger. As both the offspring of slaves and an American in Africa, Hartman, too, was a stranger. Eloquent, thoughtful, and deeply affecting, Lose Your Mother is a powerful meditation on history, memory, and the Atlantic slave trade.

In the media

Saidiya Hartman’s story of retracing the routes of the Atlantic slave trade in Ghana is an original, thought-provoking meditation on the corrosive legacy of slavery from the 16th century to the present and a welcome illustration of the powers of innovative scholarship to help us better understand how history shapes identity.—The New York Times

Intimate and accessible, full of gorgeous, heart-tugging prose, Lose Your Mother is an autobiographical search for a usable past both in the United States and in Ghana.—http://hemisphericinstitute.org

As with the best of travel writing, this work journeys not merely to a place (Ghana) but more profoundly into the author’s own sensibility, her particular way of feeling in the world.—Anthurium

Her book describes a deeply personal journey taken by a woman who insists that the ghosts of slavery still haunt the present.—Kirkus Review

‘This is a memoir about loss, alienation, and estrangement, but also, ultimately, about the power of art to remember. Lose Your Mother is a magnificent achievement’—Henry Louis Gates Jr., Harvard University

‘Hartman’s mix of history and memoir has the feel of a good novel, told with charm and passion, and should reach out to anyone contemplating the meaning of identity, belonging and homeland’Publishers Weekly

‘Wider and deeper than Alex Haley’s landmark Roots, much less sentimental and incredibly smart. It reads like a cross between Bruce Chatwin and Toni Morrison, top-notch travel-writing and scintillating prose and soul’—Randall Kenan, author of A Visitation of Spirits