Susan Straight’s memoir is a letter to her daughters — and a reckoning with America’s past

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Susan Straight’s memoir “In the Country of Women” is at its core an extended letter to her three daughters, Gaila, Delphine and Rosette Sims. This book, Straight writes, will be about the generations of women — from both Straight’s and their father Dwayne Sims’s sides — who have made their lives possible. These women are “from slave ships arrived to America, from boats leaving Europe after World War II, from indigenous peoples, hardened ranchwomen, and fierce mothers.” As Straight examines their lives, a complex, multiracial and multicultural lineage unravels. Through these family stories, Straight also adeptly exposes the complicated realities of American history.