This touching, beautifully-designed love letter from a mother to her lost daughter serves as both memorial and context for the newly-formed Anna M. Wright Art Foundation.
Rita Wright wrote this slim, illustrated story in memory of her daughter Anna following her suicide. Anna had long struggled with depression anorexia, and substance abuse, and as a young adult moved from London to Paris to pursue her art, taking her own life in her late 30s. Rita describes Anna’s childhood, travels and love of France and art, sadly imagining her daughter’s state of mind as she suffered.
Their relationship could be fraught, as can all parent-child relationships, but it was often sweet, and Rita’s memories are loving. Appropriately for a book written to help fund an art foundation, it contains full-color photos of Anna and her friends and of Anna’s lovely paintings and drawings.
The execution is sometimes flawed, however, with overwrought or confusing language (“I am catatonic with electric currents shocking me into spasms of ‘being here – not being here.’”; “From now on, I will be a member of a brutal club called the ‘Dead Mothers Society’”), and there is overall very little structured storytelling; the story wanders from affectionate memory to sad memory and back again without forming a true narrative arc. Still, this serves as a compelling and heartbreaking memorial to a troubled young woman who “lived her life in a silent scream.”
While its audience is likely to be limited to the author’s loved ones and to potential supporters of the foundation, Under the Fig Tree beautifully fulfills its purpose of remembering Anna M. Wright’s life with compassion and affection.
Also available as an ebook.