What is memory, and where is it stored in the body? Can a room be symbolic of a lifetime?
Memories are like layers of your skin or layers of paint on a canvas. In The Queen of Peace Room, Magie Dominic peels away these layers as she explores her life, that of a Newfoundlander turned New Yorker, an artist and a writer — and frees herself from the memories of her violent past.
On an eight-day retreat with Catholic nuns in a remote location safe from the outside world, she exposes, and captures, fifty years of violent memories and weaves them into a tapestry of unforgettable images. The room she inhabits while there is called The Queen of Peace Room; it becomes, for her, a room of sanctuary. She examines Newfoundland in the 1940s and 1950s and New York in the 1960s; her confrontations with violence, incest, and rape; the devastating loss of friends to AIDS; and the relationship between life and art. These memories she finds stored alongside memories of nature’s images of trees pulling themselves up from their roots and fleeing the forest; storms and ley lines, and skies bursting with star-like eyes.
In The Queen of Peace Room, from a very personal perspective, Magie Dominic explores violence against women in the second half of the twentieth century, and in doing so unearths the memory of a generation. In eight days, she captures half a century.
- Short-listed, Judy Grahn Award for Lesbian Nonfiction 2003
- Short-listed, ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year in Autobiography 2002
- Short-listed, Canadian Women's Studies Association 2002 Book Award 2002
"It is her refreshing refusal to simply confess and forget. ..and her determination to construct a future from the painful shards of her past, that make The Queen of Peace Room such an original, instructive, and powerful book. "- Thomas Haley, Rain Taxi, Vol. 8, No. 2, Summer 2003
"The Queen of Peace Room is a courageous and spiritual book. It is both searing and lyrical, infused with Dominic's hope and hard-won trust in herself. It is a passionate search for the means and a safe context that will enable her to tell the truth: the painful and long-denied truth hidden beneath the more public layers of persona. The Queen of Peace Room is an eloquent chronicle of the struggles of Magie Dominic's journey through a lifetime of memories. "- Elly Danica, author of Don't: A Woman's Word
"In The Queen of Peace Room, Magie Dominic puts her guts on every page without being mawkish, with sentiment, but without sentimentality. You'll love this book. "- Donald Frost, editor-in-chief, The Village Voice
"Despite the sometimes horrifying subject matter, Dominic's writing skill provides a balm which lifts this memoire into the extraordinary. "- Dione M. Coumbe