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Roberts' work:
The Visitation

In 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:

"For 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"
Michele Roberts

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:

"In 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."
Michele Roberts

publication details

The Visitation (1983), Women's Press
Daughters of the House (1992), Virago
The Looking Glass (2000) Little, Brown & Company

life events
key influences and themes
Roberts' work
the next chapter
being a woman writer
  Women Writers
  Ama Ata Aidoo
  Meena Alexander
  Maya Angelou
  Shashi Deshpande
  Margaret Drabble
  Buchi Emecheta
  Jamaica Kincaid
  Doris Lessing
  Bharati Mukherjee
  Helen Simpson

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