A search for roots and identity has rarely been captured with such irony, unusual insight, and surprising humor as in this memoir of heartbreak and hope. Today a distinguished American poet, Colette Inez first came to the United States when she was eight years old, as an apparent Belgian orphan escorted by two complete strangers. Growing up in post-World War II America, a stranger to her own past, she survived a harrowing adolescence and an increasingly menacing, abusive adoptive family by learning to define her single solace: a developing passion for literature. Facing possible deportation in the 1950s, Inez set out to prove her claim to U.S. citizenship. The result, as she recounts in this eloquent, wrenching memoir, would span two continents, a trail of discovery, and a buried secret: one that ultimately allowed Inez to reconcile her past and present and finally come of age as an artist.
Colette Inez is associate professor in the writing program at Columbia University. Her nine books of poetry include The Woman Who Loved Worms, Alive and Taking Names, Clemency, and Spinoza Doesn't Come Here Anymore. Inez is the recipient of numerous awards and has received fellowships from the Guggenheim and Rockefeller Foundations and twice from the National Endowment for the Arts.