"Indelible in the hippocampus is the laughter," said Dr. Christine Blasey-Ford when she testified to congress in September 2018 about the men who victimized her. Among the first books to emerge from the #MeToo movement, Indelible in the Hippocampus is an intersectional collection of essays, fiction, and poetry, sounding the voices of black, Latinx, Asian, queer, and trans writers.
Together these pieces create a portrait of cultural sea-change, offering the reader a deeper understanding of this complex, galvanizing pivot in contemporary consciousness.
... at once a beautiful, intersectional work of creative writing and tangible proof of the reckoning we needed ... Their stories bristle with intelligence and grace as they navigate the present’s murkier waters ... interrupts the silences and the oversights and the gut-certainty of, 'I’m in this alone.' It’s a portrait of intergenerational sorrow and rebellion, an empirical fortification of the soul ... When the contributors wrote their stories, they were not looking for a thank you, but I thank them anyway. I do, I do.
In a society where only one out of four rapes are reported — often because victims understand that police are unlikely to believe the allegations of accusers who do not resemble the 'real rape victim” archetype — the book’s relentless archive of victims’ stories also functions as a series of alternative police reports, witness statements, prosecutorial complaints, convictions, and, in one case, executions ... Indelible in the Hippocampus shows us that memory is what most women retain of their rapes, assaults, and harassments. These recollections form the cornerstone of a legal proceeding that they must plead and contest in their imaginations in place of an official prosecution ... Together, the works assembled in Indelible in the Hippocampus offer us the complex products of the state’s neglect to deter and prosecute sexual violence ... The writers in Indelible prove that where the government (and patriarchy) sees only disorganized emotionality in a victim’s response, she may actually be engaged in a sophisticated psychological process that charges, prosecutes, deliberates, and even punishes her attacker. The tragedy is that she is all too often forced to do this by herself, and only within her own imagination, because our criminal justice system has failed her.
The book, whose title is taken from Christine Blasey Ford’s September 2018 testimony during the confirmation hearings of now-seated Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, collects 22 personal essays, poems, and prose pieces, all brimming with emotion that’s barely contained by their brief format ... Many of the works in the book speak to the first part of Blasey Ford’s recollection, the way she identified, with clinical precision, the hidden place where sickeningly familiar memories are stored ... But the second half of Blasey Ford’s statement— the part about the laughter—is less in evidence here ... the experience of being the butt of a joke and also being expected to laugh simmers in Indelible’s subtext, but remains underexplored in these writings. That’s not to say that the pieces themselves don’t contain the dark humor that feels necessary to numb #MeToo’s painful mundanity ... Indelible in the Hippocampus invites us to bear witness to the voices that aren’t the loudest, the splashiest, or the most demanding of a platform, but are the ones in whose many facets we can all recognize ourselves.