In these quirky and richly told tales, Alexandra Teague brings readers along for the wild ride of her youth, traversing wide swaths of the American landscape in the company of a talking puppet, Victorian ghosts, and a family fueled by fantasy, dysfunction, and fierce love.
Why did people who shunned the culture of consumerism and prided themselves on making everything from scratch take annual trips to Disney World, the mecca of mass-manufactured fun? Did her mother really have psychic abilities? Why did her sensitive youngest nephew speak in a voice that wasn’t his own? How do family legacies of grief and dysfunction and creativity intersect? How can she escape her circumstances without replicating the escapist fantasies with which she was raised?
Teague attempts to understand and contextualize her family in terms of trauma and mental health, but also with deep love and humor. Carefully attuned to the vagaries of geographical cultures, she weaves her family’s history with explorations of pop culture and the specific cultures of the places she and her family pass through: a Texas city, an Arkansas Victorian tourist town, a Southwest ghost town, Central Florida, the Bay Area, Kansas City, and Moscow, Idaho—a college town in the Inland Northwest.a college town in the Inland Northwest.
Spinning Tea Cups will appeal to readers interested in American cultural studies, those concerned with the ongoing crisis of mental illness in this country, and anyone seeking to explore the dangerous and recuperative powers of fantasy.
About the Author
Alexandra Teague is professor of English and co-director of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at the University of Idaho. She is the author of three volumes of poetry and a novel, The Principles Behind Flotation.
“Is Alexandra Teague the child of psychics who can see in the world the possibility of life after death, of spells, of spirits, of foreknowledge? Or is she collateral damage of people too concerned with their own magical thinking to keep her best interests at heart? The book is at its most gripping at the knife-edge of these questions, when Teague fights to become her own self, author of her own story, able to poke tender fun at the many different versions of herself.” —Cris Harris, author of I Have Not Loved You With My Whole Heart