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The Roundtable

"Heavy: An American Memoir" By Kiese Laymon

Book Cover - Heavy

Born and raised in Jackson, Mississippi, Kiese Laymon, Ottilie Schillig Professor of English and Creative Writing at the University of Mississippi, is the author of the novel "Long Division" and a collection of essays, "How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America."

In his new book, "Heavy: An American Memoir," he writes eloquently and honestly about growing up a hard-headed black son to a complicated and brilliant black mother in Jackson, Mississippi. From his early experiences of sexual violence, to his suspension from college, to his trek to New York as a young college professor, Laymon charts his complex relationship with his mother, grandmother, anorexia, obesity, sex, writing, and ultimately gambling.

By attempting to name secrets and lies he and his mother spent a lifetime avoiding, Laymon asks himself, his mother, his nation, and us to confront the terrifying possibility that few in this nation actually know how to responsibly love, and even fewer want to live under the weight of actually becoming free.

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