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Pilgrim State

Jacqueline Walker

8 Reviews

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Memoirs, Prose: non-fiction

This stunning memoir is the story of a mother and daughter, and the incredible ties of love and loss, set over 20 years from New York (1940s) to London (1960s).

PILGRIM STATE is a stunning memoir which tells the story of Dorothy Walker - equal parts beautiful, headstrong, brave and tragic. Her life is lovingly recreated by her daughter Jacqueline in homage to the remarkable woman she was.

In the haunting opening pages, set in Pilgrim State mental facility in New York State in 1951, Dorothy has been forcibly sectioned and is battling to keep her children and her sanity. She will struggle all her life to retain both. Dorothy and her children return to Jamaica before finally making a home in post-Windrush London in the early 60s.

Dorothy and her children face prejudice and loss but are bound by incredible love and their unique sense of family. This will prove to be Dorothys greatest gift.

Stories like PILGRIM STATE dont come along that often. And when they do you recognise you have something very special. And when a voice is this strong and original, you stop to listen.

PILGRIM STATE celebrates place, the life-affirming nature of family and the bonds between mothers and daughters that can never be broken. The story is haunting and powerful and speaks for generations of women, resonating long after the story ends. Jacqueline Walker has done her mother proud.

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Praise for Pilgrim State

  • One of those extraordinary memoirs of love, loss and migration that touches on themes in Small Island. It's a word-of-mouth book that deserves wide coverage - Bookseller

  • Fine, honest writing and acute personal insight . . . Jacqueline Walker has written this fond, striking memoir as a homage to a brave, beautiful woman - Iain Finlayson for The Times

  • Remarkable - Time Out

  • Haunting, powerful and beautifully written, Dorothy's story resonates long after the final page - International Women's Month Magazine

  • A wonderful, deeply moving book - James McBride, Author of The Color of Water

  • The best book you will read this year - Pride, 2008

  • Elegant, haunting and important . . . moved me hugely and like the very best books remained in my thoughts for weeks afterwards. Read it - Sathnam Sanghera

  • Pilgrim State is an extraordinary memoir . . . This will be read by mothers and daughters alike, and both will find a resonance in the lives of these two women - Kate Bradley, Bookseller's Choice

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Jacqueline Walker

Jacqueline Walker arrived in Britain in 1959. She has been a teacher and a mother of three, and taught creative writing as well completed two Arvon writing courses. Pilgrim State is her first book.

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