The Queen of Peace Room
Paper 128 pp.
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Shortlisted for the 2003 Judy Grahn Award for Lesbian Nonfiction
Finalist for the 2002 ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year in Autobiography
Shortlisted for the Canadian Women's Studies Association 2002 Book Award
What is memory, and where is it stored in the body? Can a room be symbolic of a lifetime?
Memories are like layers of your skin or layers of paint on a canvas. In The Queen of Peace Room, Magie Dominic peels away these layers as she explores her life, that of a Newfoundlander turned New Yorker, an artist and a writer — and frees herself from the memories of her violent past.
On an eight-day retreat with Catholic nuns in a remote location safe from the outside world, she exposes, and captures, fifty years of violent memories and weaves them into a tapestry of unforgettable images. The room she inhabits while there is called The Queen of Peace Room; it becomes, for her, a room of sanctuary. She examines Newfoundland in the 1940s and 1950s and New York in the 1960s; her confrontations with violence, incest, and rape; the devastating loss of friends to AIDS; and the relationship between life and art. These memories she finds stored alongside memories of nature’s images of trees pulling themselves up from their roots and fleeing the forest; storms and ley lines, and skies bursting with star-like eyes.
In The Queen of Peace Room, from a very personal perspective, Magie Dominic explores violence against women in the second half of the twentieth century, and in doing so unearths the memory of a generation. In eight days, she captures half a century.
Magie Dominic, Newfoundland writer and artist, has long been active in the peace movement. Her essays and poetry have been published in over fifty anthologies and journals in Canada, the United States, Italy, and India. Her artwork has been exhibited in Toronto and New York, including a presentation at the United Nations.
“Despite the sometimes horrifying subject matter, Dominic’s writing skill provides a balm which lifts this memoire into the extraordinary.”
— Dione M. Coumbe
“The Queen of Peace Room is a courageous and spiritual book. It is both searing and lyrical, infused with Dominic’s hope and hard-won trust in herself. It is a passionate search for the means and a safe context that will enable her to tell the truth: the painful and long-denied truth hidden beneath the more public layers of persona. The Queen of Peace Room is an eloquent chronicle of the struggles of Magie Dominic’s journey through a lifetime of memories.”
— Elly Danica, author of Don’t: A Woman’s Word
“In The Queen of Peace Room, Magie Dominic puts her guts on every page without being mawkish, with sentiment, but without sentimentality. You’ll love this book.”
— Donald Frost, editor-in-chief, The Village Voice
“It is her refreshing refusal to simply confess and forget...and her determination to construct a future from the painful shards of her past, that make The Queen of Peace Room such an original, instructive, and powerful book.”
— Thomas Haley, Rain Taxi