Linda Murphy Marshall joins The Spotlight to chat about her memoir, Ivy Lodge



Book Genre: MEMOIR

Release Date: JULY 12, 2022


Welcome, Linda! Please tell us a bit about your book.

My memoir tells the story of a woman who returns home following the death of both her parents. In going through her childhood home, she translates the events, memories, and people in her life, using the house and its contents as catalysts for uncovering her identity. In the process, she unwraps the mythology surrounding her family and her place in it, reaching ground truth.

What was the spark?

The memoir began as a 10-page essay I initially wrote as a workshop assignment. The more I wrote about my childhood home, the more I uncovered, and the more I knew I needed to continue that writing journey. Eventually that journey became my memoir.

From your perspective, what’s the hardest thing about writing and researching? And what do you love most about it?

The most difficult thing about writing and researching the book was reliving many of the painful, pivotal incidents, incidents I had previously lumped together as being a result of my faults, character flaws, poor judgment. The more I wrote, the more I realized that I had been — in large part — a scapegoat for what plagued my biological family, and not necessarily at fault for everything wrong about this family.

What I love the most about my memoir is that writing it was ultimately cathartic and healing; the more I wrote, the more I uncovered, translated, and discovered about myself. It was healing to organize my thoughts about my life and get them all down on paper.

What’s capturing your imagination these days outside of reading and writing?

In addition to reading and writing, I am a classical pianist, an artist (sketching and acrylic painting), a docent at the Library of Congress, and a trustee at the National Museum of Language.

Any new writing projects in the works?

I recently completed the first draft of a second memoir — Through the Windows of Words: A Memoir — which will also be published by She Writes Press. It continues my journey of discovery by taking the reader on my real and emotional journey, on numerous perilous trips to Africa. During the course of these trips, I gain an even better understanding of my identity.

Where can readers find you?

Thank you, Linda! Ivy Lodge is out NOW.

After both her parents die, Linda Murphy Marshall, a multi-linguist and professional translator, returns to her midwestern childhood home, Ivy Lodge, to sort through a lifetime of belongings with her siblings. Room by room, she sifts through the objects in her parents’ house and uses her skills and perspective as a longtime professional translator to make sense of the events of her past—to “translate” her memories and her life. In the process, she sees things with new eyes. All of her parents’ things, everything having to do with their cherished hobbies, are housed in a home that, although it looks impressive from the outside, is anything but impressive inside; in short, she now realizes that much of it —even the house’s fancy name—was show.

By the time Murphy Marshall is done with Ivy Lodge, she has not only made new discoveries about her past, she has also come to a new understanding of who she is and how she fits into her world.