| Roberts' work:
her novel The Visitation the main character, Helen, feels
distanced from her mother. Roberts describes the friendship
and loves of Helen and her friend Beth. In this passage Beth
has become pregnant and Helen is placing her hands over Beth's
womb, to feel the baby moving inside.
Helen feels the child inside her friend jump...
Roberts compares the womb to Eden, the green garden of Paradise, which the child has to leave behind when it is born. This image is very significant to Roberts as a writer:
me the labyrinth is another image of the womb and of birth,
but this time I think it's a helpful myth, It's saying
yes you've left paradise, you've left the centre, the
nurturing beautiful place, but you can go back whenever
you need to.., look here's the magic ball of string showing
you the way back, don't be afraid to go into the world
have your adventures and grow up, whenever you need to,
pop back to paradise, the way is shown you by the ball
of string…And for me as a writer that's about constantly
returning to the source of words, my mother, my first
language...the babble of the baby at breast"|
For Michele Roberts being born represents the loss of paradise,
the separation from the mother - and writing gives the power
to reconnect to what is lost.
Her later work is less autobiographical, she writes about what hasn't happened, what she fears or dreams about:
later novels I found that I got more interested in writing
about what hadn't happened but what I might desire to
happen to me or what I might fear could happen to me ..
and I discovered that in a sense the autobiography translated
into fantasies, and that made me feel freer as writer,
so I think you go on twisting the autobiographical sources
differently, you don't want to repeat yourself as a writer..
you'd get bored."|
The Visitation (1983), Women's Press
Daughters of the House (1992), Virago
The Looking Glass (2000) Little, Brown & Company