Written in the last years before his death, this memoir by renowned Kentucky poet and photographer James Baker Hall goes in search of the mother he lost to suicide when he was eight years old. Working his way through a memory shattered by trauma, he tries to recover the story of his beloved mother Lurlene Bronaugh and the long consequences of her death for his childhood self and the man he becomes. In what Erik Reece calls “genuine, probing, and courageous” language, Hall seeks out a story that was shuttered in silence and shame. The book includes dozens of Hall’s photographic images from his series “Orphans in the Attic.” It features a foreword by Erik Reece and an introduction by Mary Ann Taylor-Hall.
Meet the Author
James Baker Hall (1935-2009) was born in Lexington, Kentucky. He was raised in a southern family of means, only to have a family scandal turn tragic when he was eight years old. This trauma, and its enduring consequences, would shape Hall’s life work as an artist, which began when he took up photography at age eleven. Hall studied writing at the University of Kentucky under Robert Hazel among his lifelong literary colleagues: Wendell Berry, Ed McClanahan, Gurney Norman, and Bobbie Ann Mason. Hall’s work will be represented by his wife, Mary Ann Taylor-Hall.