Journey of family ties discovery

March 30, 2018

Travelling with Pomegranates makes for an interesting read, says Lee Stephenson.

Travelling with Pomegranates

— Sue Monk Kidd and Ann Kidd Taylor

This is something different — a travel book written in alternating chapters by a mother and daughter. It covers trips to Greece twice, Turkey briefly, and France, but possibly more importantly (not least to the authors) it covers the relationship between the two women.

There are frequent references to events they experience having some sort of eye-opening relevance to their relationship, which cause either pleasure or concern.

Sue, the mother, passionately relates to icons and statues of Mary, mother of Christ, and Mary’s mother, Anne; and watches her own daughter for signs of... what? Probably depression, since the young woman is too introspective and uncommunicative. Her writing is often about her current position and self-esteem.

She carries around a letter of rejection from an academic position she had almost assumed she would achieve, and can’t get past it. She can’t envisage the prospect of a future outside this particular position.

Sue is turning 50, which she frequently refers to as the beginning of old age, as if one turns a page and boom, there it is. Unsurprisingly her blood pressure is too high, to the concern of herself and her daughter.

Among other typical American tourists they visit historical places, photograph them and derive a lot of pleasure from being there, and find religious comfort and personal satisfaction in them.

At the time of publication, the mother is a writer on the cusp of success, and the daughter wakes up to the fact she wants to go the same route, which could possibly be confronting, but it apparently does not affect their relationship.

One gets the feeling that the real aim of the book is more a personal exploration, rather than one of historical places.

— Lee Stephenson

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