APART by Catherine Taylor
Apart grew out of Taylor’s memories of visiting her family in South Africa as a child and her later curiosity about her (white) mother’s involvement in early anti-apartheid women’s groups. Mixing narrative prose, poems, social and political theory, and found texts culled from years of visiting South African archives and libraries, Apart navigates the difficult landscapes of history, shame, privilege, and grief. The second edition of Apart includes extensive citations missing from the first edition. Here, 85 footnotes offer complete references for the historical, archival, and literary research included in the text. Back in print after selling out its first edition, Apart is as relevant now as when it was first published, as Hyperallergic noted:
“'After it is over, after the shooting stops, after the blood bath, after things change, after democracy, after reconciliation, after redistribution, after understanding, maybe then it will begin.'
This is how Catherine Taylor’s book Apart begins.
Picking it up now, reading that opening, three years since the book was first published, my mind immediately went to contemporary struggles for justice happening in the US today, particularly the ongoing struggles for racial justice. That centuries-old distant hope for a just future that every protester carries with them on the street — 'maybe then it will begin.'.... Reading her text, you can’t help but get drawn into her relentless quest. The book feels like a collection of unfinished and incomplete thoughts, but ones that have purposely been left hanging. The structure is loose and undefined, mixing essay and poetry and redacted excerpts from archives, and sometimes lengthy footnotes that even in their clarifications feel uncertain."