Excavating Memory

This unique book is a fascinating blend of memoir and commentary on the theme indicated by its subtitle: Archeology and Home. In a series of striking essays, adroitly using objects as portals to memory and meaning, Elizabeth Mosier explores her own home life, her ancestors, and our larger American family. The pieces build on her experiences as a volunteer in the excavation around George Washington’s Philadelphia home and her grief at the demise of her mother and her mother-in-law in close succession. The effect is of honing in on the most important and meaningful aspects of life. It is laden with gems of observation and insight: “Sometimes memories aren’t doors but walls, revealing nothing until the foundation is shaken and the whole house comes down.”

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