The Cancer Journals

Penguin Random House Audio. Feb. 2022. 3:29 hrs. ISBN 9780593609354. $15. MEMOIR
More than 40 years after its initial publication, Black feminist poet and activist Lorde’s chronicle of her experiences with breast cancer and mastectomy continues to resonate with strength and insight. In this collection of diary entries, poems, and essays, Lorde reveals her fear and outrage upon receiving positive biopsy results and subsequently undergoing a radical mastectomy. Her recovery is more difficult than anticipated, not only because of the physical pain, but because Lorde must make sense of this one-breasted version of herself and reclaim her beauty and power in the face of societal disapproval and disgust. This audio is narrated by Lorde’s daughter, Elizabeth Lorde-Rollins, along with Tracy K. Smith, who reads the foreword to this latest edition. Lorde-Rollins provides a steady narration that evokes her mother’s strength of spirit. At times, her narration is a bit too measured, but listeners will appreciate her authentic, heartfelt tone. Smith’s reading is vibrant and full-bodied, a perfect poetic introduction for Lorde’s searing words.
VERDICT Lorde’s poignant and startlingly relevant work is recommended for all collections, particularly where interest in poetry, activism, and feminism is strong.
Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing