Spanning twenty years and 2,900 miles of turn-of-the-millennium Southern California and present-day Central Pennsylvania, They More Than Burned explores the complicated process of translating memory to page and screen. Using film scripts, imaginary interviews, and a splash of speculative fiction, Stillions Whitehead creates a metaphorical archive of loss and hope for a generation unified by post-9/11 disillusionment. A feminist protest against Hollywoodized renderings of addiction, displacement, and recovery, They More Than Burned presents an anti-narrative condemning the industry’s gross exploitation of personal trauma, suggesting that more than truth and integrity are at risk.
Praise for They More Than Burned
Just beyond that deserted building—not that one—not the one that’s most familiar to you, but travel down a bit more—just a bit more, four blocks down maybe, and there’s another abandoned building where along its scrappy dented side, there’s a shallow ditch—a ditch of pure dirt partly covering a tattered film reel, torn and cut and spliced and linked by synapses of hazy and puzzled recollections, however scratched and pierced, in search of a life that never existed—in search of a life that once floated around this world, blinded by the hazards of isolated fires and lost sentiments, scattered. Perhaps, a magnifying glass held up to the sun to find meaning on this earth of broken spirits—yes, there is the sun, though, and so it shines through this trembled dirt upon Tara Stillions Whitehead’s They More than Burned —a gritty and experimental book of prose where the light penetrates just enough through the darkness to let us know that if you look hard enough, through the cracked lens, there is a chance to venture out of the maze of the mind. Whitehead writes with pain—fed by pain—to gather a sense of clarity, and in this clearing, there is a gleam. She paved no roads for us to follow for this amazingly unique array of words leave no traces—just ghostly memories inserted into the spectrums of time. – Shome Dasgupta, author of Cirrus Stratus