I am Frida, and I am not Frida.
I am the moon, hollowed out by remorse.
I am many women, I answer to many names.
My prayer is from the forests of Mexico, from the molten heart of the earth.
Fly closer, fly nearer to me.
In this fictional tour de force Jay Griffiths, author of the acclaimed Wild, creates a portrait of the artist Frida Kahlo—her devastating accident and her love for Diego Rivera—that is also a celebration of the spirit of poetry and the art of rebellion.
Spellbinding and luminous, A Love Letter from a Stray Moon is a unique work about passion, grief and transcendence.
From Jay Griffiths:
‘What is it like, the private, invisible grief of childlessness? How is art a consolation of love? What is it which fires creativity? How does rebellion speak in masks? And how might the earth look, from the point of view of the moon?
In answer to these questions, this book is partly a fictionalised portrait of Frida Kahlo, her devastating accident and her love for Diego Rivera. Also, it is about her grief at being unable to have children, but is written to portray how art is another kind of motherhood. The book is also about the poetry of rebellion, from Frida’s own politics to the present-day Zapatistas and the revolutionary fire at the heart of art. It is also written as if from the perspective of the moon, looking with both love and grief at the torn world, and it is about the passion of the human spirit born native to earth.’
From John Berger:
‘How to handle this book? The question is not figurative but literal. How to pick it up? Where to place it? How to close it when you have to put it down?
The questions arise because it’s so full of love and pain. Its pages are like taken-off bandages. Its spine, like Frida Kahlo’s, is damaged. When you turn a page you place a hand on its forehead.
Yet it never winces and in its breathing there is a continuous promise and faith, sometimes tranquil. Sometimes furious.
The image on its cover is of a pair of wings. And maybe one has to handle this book as if it were a bird, a live bird. You walk, and it perches on your shoulder. You shut your eyes, and it takes off into the sky. You sleep and it wakes you before the first light.
It’s a small migratory bird who crosses oceans and centuries and carries messages signed by Lorca and Martí and Whitman and you, its reader.
And when it returns it refinds its nest which is the palm between the fingers and thumb of your imagination.'
Around the web:
Listen to Jay’s interview with Phillip Adams on Late Night Live.
Read an article by Jay written for the Guardian.
‘Inspiring tale puts Frida the free spirit back in the picture’, read the Independent review.
Griffiths’ novel itself reminds us what it is to be a human being, born native to the earth, on fire with the joy of the universe and full of grief for our broken world. It is a love song to life, to art and to the human spirit. Read review in full.
A Love Letter from a Stray Moon is an extraordinarily beautiful and sustained prose poem, a call for engagement with the world, and a powerful and astonishing feat of literary and retroactive telepathy.
Jay Griffiths is a fearless adventurer with words and images. I salute her courage and the splendour of this vision.
I absolutely devoured this wonderfully perceptive and sensitive book. I already knew a lot about Frida Kahlo’s life but rediscovered it in these pages from the inside out.