The Paris Review

The Blue Jay’s Dance

Revisited is a series in which writers look back on a work of art they first encountered long ago. Here, Sarah Menkedick revisits Louise Erdrich’s memoir, The Blue Jay’s Dance.

From the first edition of The Blue Jay’s Dance.

Nine weeks into my pregnancy, in the middle of an Ohio woods lit gold with fall, I sat in a small, dark cabin and wept. I had no idea how to proceed and I also understood with a wrenching clarity that I could not turn back. I had no model for pregnancy beyond the asexual lady on the cover of , clad in neutral sweater and slacks, plain-faced in her rocking chair, an emblem of the dull, docile femininity demanded

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from The Paris Review

The Paris Review4 min read
The Woman of a Thousand Faces
Aldous Harding performing at the Oxford Art Factory on November 21, 2015. Photo: Bruce Baker (CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)). Via Wikimedia Commons. Aldous Harding is a young singer-songwriter, the kind usually labeled a fol
The Paris Review9 min read
On Warnings
Still from Belly (1998) It is hard to say when I stopped noticing the sirens. They’re still there, piercing the otherwise normal Wednesday-afternoon noise. But I haven’t noticed them for at least fifteen years. In the central Ohio area, a test of the
The Paris Review7 min read
The Gift of Elizabeth Hardwick’s Attention
Elizabeth Hardwick. Elizabeth Hardwick is one of the world’s most valuable essayists and literary critics. That is to say, her essays are of value to anyone interested in the ways in which women are made present in literature. In Seduction and Betray