I am a Feminist, Radical and Lesbian
7 9 2019
I am a Feminist, Radical and Lesbian

Dorothy Allison narrates herself in conversation with Gaia Manzini

Behind the glasses and the clear-eyed determination of a 70 year old woman from Carolina, Dorothy Allison holds an inner and complex world, made up of violence, sexual abuse and anger, which rise as an unavoidable point of narrative reflection in her books, such as in Bastard Out Carolina before, where they intimately mix with the fictional tones and personage, and now in Two or Three Things I Know For Sure, a true existential memoir.

As she explains to Gaia Manzini, Dorothy's narration speaks of a collective dimension where good and evil intertwine, without wanting to find blame in the reader, but pure desire to talk about things as they really are. “Who writes," says Dorothy, "has to be a liar but also ruthlessly honest." Dorothy's world - in which there is no room for hope or change, but a desire to tell for redemption and escape individual, family and social despair - is not an easy one to talk about

If in the pages of Bastard Out of Carolina, the writer plays with reality by alternating it with traits of narrative fiction, in Two or Three Things I Know For Sure, the writer draws the reader into this complex world made up of brutality and violence but also of boundless and sweet maternal love. Dorothy Allison takes an inner journey in this memoir, accomplishing it with the reader himself, in which she repossesses with serene awareness (and more than a touch of irony) her body, abused and pierced by violence for so many years, and her existence, to become the woman she herself defines as - feminist, radical and lesbian.


Writing as a tool of salvation is the key to understanding the complexity of Dorothy's world, and love and sweetness, often masked by fear and violence, are the essential drivers that make Dorothy Allison a universal writer and narrator of a related infernal world. "My mother always thought I was a genius. When she found out that I learned to read before I was 5, she began to collect the money she received from the tips she received in a flowerpot and every time she told me: you'll study, you'll go to college. All this despite all the women in my family having left school around 11 or 12 to go to work. And so it was."

Violence seems just a distant memory when Dorothy Allison talks to her audience, like it was a monster that has been definitively defeated. And Dorothy Allison has done it through love, for her own complex world, for writing, for life, for her son.