Incantation of Frida K.: A Novel
"I was born in rain and I will die in rain," begins Kate Braverman's The Incantation of Frida K., an imagined life journey of Frida Kahlo. The book opens and closes inside the mind of Frida Kahlo, at 46, on her deathbed, taking us through a kaleidoscope of memories and hallucinations where we shiver for two hundred pages on the threshold of life and death, dream and reality, truth and myth. Defiant and uncompromising, Frida bears the wounds of her body and spirit with a stark pride, transcending all limitations, wrapping her senses around the places, events, and conversations in her past. Kahlo interacts from her hospital bed with her mother, sister, Diego, and her nurse. She calls herself a "water woman," navigating into unexplored dimensions of her world, leading us through the alleys of San Francisco's Chinatown, of Paris in 1939 (where she rubbed shoulders with Andre Breton), and of her neighborhood in Mexico City, Coyoacan. Her voyage is an inward one, an incantation before dying. In The Incantation of Frida K., Braverman's language dances and spins. She carves out a bold interpretation of the life of an artist to whom she is vitally connected.
"[Braverman's] talent, uncorked, is as bold and brave and beautiful as anything we see from writers of her generation. Her latest work of fiction, a pulsating prose meditation on the life and death of Mexican painter Frida Kahlo, makes that abundantly clear." —Alan Cheuse, San Francisco Chronicle
"Imaginative and assured … [Braverman] has produced a masterful work in The Incantation of Frida K."—Bookforum
"Braverman's literary genius shines here as she takes on the voice of Frida Kahlo, which emerges with the luminous and haunting tone one would imagine the late Mexican artist would have." —Library Journal
"A story that belongs to Frida as much as to the American writer." —Reforma
"Dazzling and illuminating … Braverman has a talent for lyrical and hallucinatory language that neatly matches her subject, the interior musings of Frida Kahlo … To read this book is not only to understand what made the artist tick, it is also to feel the excruciating ticking of a life fueled by pain." —Washington Post Book World
"Braverman deliberately mixes genres, creating a new kind of syntax influenced by poetry, music, performance art, memoir, and biography." —American Book Review