DEBUT MEMOIR by MARIANNE DISSARD - Available in paperback, audiobook and ebook.
An impish and poetic exploration of trauma and the life of a disordered touring musician.
"Not Me is without doubt one of the best books I've read this year." Andrew Smith, Moondust and Totally Wired
1985. I was a teenager when we moved to America. On my first day at school in Phoenix, Arizona, I learnt that a quart of Diet Pepsi is a perfectly acceptable breakfast, and iceberg salad — 'dressing on the side, thanks' — the only acceptable lunch item for popular girls. Shy and bookish, I observed but spoke little, an awkward foreign body longing to integrate. On her farm in the Béarn region of the Pyrénées, my grandmother raised — and force fed — ducks for foie gras. I loved foie gras as a kid. And brains, blood pancakes, sweet fritters of acacia flowers in spring. How on earth would I end up with a severe eating disorder at age 17? Cramming into my parents' Peugeot for weekend trips to the Auvergne, we'd pack wheels of St Nectaire cheese and the blue-streaked Roquefort revered by my father. How, then, did I figure at age 22 that sticking two fingers down my throat was just the thing to do after a meal?
Marianne LEFT HER HOME in Tucson, Arizona...
French-born Tucson chanteuse Marianne Dissard recorded and toured worldwide with members of alt-Americana bands Orkesta Mendoza, XIXA, Calexico and Giant Sand. Her desert noir chanson plays effortlessly with contradictions. Tender, yet abrasive. Melodramatic, but vulnerable. Comical and heartbreaking. Equally so her first book, Not Me, the account of a year spent away from the stage in an attempt to reboot a life plagued by eating disorders.
"Good grief, this is amazing! I am offered a lot of stories of 'survival' and 'recovery', which tend to be messianic and, frankly, tedious, so I was at best open-minded, perhaps a little dubious, but your book is a knock-out. So frank and fluent and funny. Who else evokes a meditation retreat as pure purgatory? I was mentally climbing the walls." - Rose Shepherd, Saga Magazine, author Simon & Schuster
With a cover design by noted British designer Jamie Keenan, Not Me is a courageous book of unflinching compassion. Of universal interest, Dissard's "often improbably funny memoir" (Andrew Smith), "not just painfully but viscerally, brutally honest" (John Parish), will speak to anyone who has ever struggled to maintain physical and psychological well-being.
For years, Dissard orchestrated her public life as a performer around her private disordered world. In 2013, at the end of her rope, she flees her hometown of Tucson, Arizona to seek solace back in Europe, a continent she'd left at age sixteen. In Paris, Dissard latches on to an intensive yoga teacher training to turn her life around. Invited to teach, Dissard grabs the chance to learn. Focusing on her students, opening up to friendships, she gradually finds her way back to health and connections... and a wooden boat in England.
'Leave to remain in the UK'... her 'pre-settled' status granted, Dissard is currently at work from the Ramsgate harbour on a second book and her fourth album. Well, that was before the pandemic...
released July 20, 2020
“Marianne Dissard is that rare sort of talent: a literary chanteuse who renders the whole world with keen observations, wit, and pathos.”
Mitch Cullin, A Slight Trick of the Mind and Tideland
“Not just painfully honest, but viscerally, brutally honest - a struggle for survival, and ultimately self-acceptance.”
John Parish, Let England Shake and How Animals Move
“Survival has always been billed as heroic, but you show us that survival - the difficult and secret task - is in how one faces the mundane: eating alone, living alone, talking to one's self. That's the power here.”
Chris Rush, The Light Years
Recorded at Waterworks Studio, Tucson by Jim Waters
Read and edited by Marianne Dissard
This is the second in a series of weekly album reviews published by Andrew Dubber. If you haven’t already caught it, please check out his introductory post. The world appears to be littered with bearded young men with acoustic guitars and notebooks full of verse, access to old pianos, and mournful string players. Few have … Continue reading Album of the Week: Fire on the Vine → Bandcamp Album of the Day Nov 6, 2011