The Inheritance

The Inheritance

by Elizabeth A. Povinelli

Published by: Duke University Press Books

320 pages, 178.00 x 254.00 mm

  • ISBN: 9781478014034
  • Published: March 2021


Elizabeth A. Povinelli’s inheritance was passed down, not through blood or soil, but through a framed map of Trentino, Alto Adige—the region where family's ancestral alpine village is found—hung above her family's television. Far more than a map, the image's colors and lines held in place the memories and values that fueled the Povinelli family's fraught relationship with the village and each other. In her graphic memoir The Inheritance, Povinelli explores the events, traumas, and powers that divide and define our individual and collective pasts and futures. Weaving together stories of her grandparents' flight from their village in the early twentieth century to the fortunes of their knife-grinding business in Buffalo, New York, and her own Catholic childhood in a shrinking Louisiana woodlands of the 1960s and 70s, Povinelli describes the serial patterns of violence, dislocation, racism and structural inequality that have shaped not only her life but the American story. Plumbing the messy relationships between nationality, ethnicity, kinship, religion, and belonging, The Inheritance takes us into the gulf between facts of history and stories we tell ourselves in order to survive and justify them.