The Chronology of Water by Lidia Yuknavitch

Wendy C. Ortiz
Adjunct Faculty, BA
Alumna, M.A. in Psychology
Alumna, M.F.A. in Creative Writing

I don’t remember how this book fell into my hands, but I feel fortunate it did and I won’t tire of putting it into other people’s hands. As it is, I have told several people about it, bought it for a few others, and every person seems to go OH. WOW. For a variety of reasons.

This book is The Chronology of Water by Lidia Yuknavitch.

I knew just a few pages in that this book was going to blow me out of my skin, and it did. Often described as an “anti-memoir,” this book is a non-linear, language-loving, gut-wrenching, artful, depthful vision of a woman’s life. This woman being Lidia Yuknavitch. I’d dare to say there are several women embodied in this woman and we get to meet them in these pages that span from childhood to adulthood to motherhood and back again.

Halfway through reading it in the late spring of 2011, I looked Lidia up on ye olde Internet and located her. She lives in the Portland, OR area, teaching writing, editing, publishing (her own press, Chiasmus Press), and I asked her if she would come read at my reading series, Rhapsodomancy. Lidia displayed such warmth and graciousness in her response and in her reading. She read two incredible pieces from her book at the August 2011 reading and, just as I had imagined, the audience was mesmerized. People who hadn’t known her before the reading walked away with signed copies of her book and looked like they were already in love.

The Chronology of Water is a book I will re-read, over and over again. I can open it to any page and feel myself wanting to dive in deep for another go, and new worlds open up in the language every single time.

I dare you to read it only once.
“About a Boob or The Hermeneutics of a Woman’s Body,” Lidia Yuknavitch, The Rumpus
“The Rumpus Book Club Interviews Lidia Yuknavitch,” The Rumpus, April 7, 2011
Rhaspodomancy, a Los Angeles reading series

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