Let the Tornado Come: A Memoir (Paperback)

Let the Tornado Come: A Memoir By Rita Zoey Chin Cover Image
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Hailed as a “clear-eyed book written with poetry and compassion” by The Boston Globe, Let the Tornado Come is the “lyrical debut memoir” (Kirkus Reviews) of a runaway child, the woman she became, and the horse that set her free.

When Rita Zoey Chin was eleven years old, she began running away from home. Her parents’ violence and neglect drove her onto the streets in search of a better life, but what she found instead was a dangerous world of drugs and predatory men—as well as the occasional kindness of strangers. As she hits bottom and then learns to forge a new life for herself, all of her dreams of freedom and beauty pivot on a single, precious memory: a herd of horses running along a roadside fence.

A few years later, Rita—now a prizewinning poet and wife of a successful neurosurgeon—appears to have triumphed over her harrowing childhood, until she is struck with a series of debilitating panic attacks that threaten her comfortable new life. Ultimately, it is the memory of those hoofbeats, and the chance arrival of a spirited, endearing horse named Claret who has a difficult history himself, that will finally save her.

“A near euphoric ode to the human spirit” (Huffington Post), Let the Tornado Come is about pulling yourself up out of the dark and discovering that the greatest escape lies not in running from, but turning towards, those things that frighten you the most; it is “luminous…A haunting yet hopeful saga that shows how trauma and fear can transform themselves into enduring strength” (Publishers Weekly).

About the Author

Rita Zoey Chin’s writing has appeared in Tin House, Guernica,The Rumpus, Freerange Nonfiction, and elsewhere. She received her MFA from the University of Maryland and now lives in Boston, where she teaches at Grub Street, mentors teenage girls, and rides her mischievous horse.

Praise For…

“Although Rita Zoey Chin vividly describes a brutal and despairing life her writing is never consumed with despair. Let the Tornado Come is a clear-eyed book written with poetry and compassion. Chin may have had little control over her life, but she demonstrates a remarkable control over her story.”
— The Boston Globe

“A beautiful memoir of hope in even the most trying of situations.”
— Flavorwire.com

“[An] intense, disturbing memoir.… As [Chin] finally connects with those who understand her pain and, in the process, figures out how to save her horse, [she] emerges triumphant. Her message: never give up until you find the help you need, and don’t be afraid to keep looking. Book clubs will find hours of discussion here.”
— Booklist

This lyrical debut memoir reveals the indelible consequences of childhood abuse.... Chin deftly creates the palimpsest of those stories, past and present, in this candid, graceful testimony to remarkable resilience.
— Kirkus Reviews

"The language in Let the Tornado Come is beautiful, and Rita's lyricism alone makes the book worth reading. That it's a memoir of perseverance, that it speaks to all of us—riders, runaways, panickers, and indeed anyone else who's discovered that we all have the power to improve our lives—makes this a must-read."
— Massachusetts Horse

"Unbearably beautiful and unflinching, Rita Zoey Chin’s Let the Tornado Come is a brilliant portrait of a life skirting the precipice. She has captured masterfully the maelstrom of her years as a runaway, a wife, a sister, a rider, a searcher. But what shines, page after page, is her resilience, in how every day is built. This is a story full of lightning—sudden, intimate, radiant."
— Paul Yoon, author of Snow Hunters

Let the Tornado Come is as riveting as it sounds. In lyrical yet clear-eyed prose, with a gentleness and humility that belie a fierce inner strength, Rita Zoey Chin illuminates the debilitating consequences of childhood abuse and her search for its antidote. At once heartbreaking and heartening, compassionate and wise, Let the Tornado Come is a story about love—its unmatched enormity, its curative power, its reverberating force that, though not dissimilar to the tremors of fear in our heart, can carry us to a place where we are cherished, and in turn, learn to cherish the life in our care.
— Vaddey Ratner, bestselling author of In the Shadow of the Banyan

At the heart of this brave,beautiful memoir is an extraordinary tale of hard-earned compassion and love.Despite all odds, some of the most broken down souls, human and animal alike,can not only heal but can take wing and soar. Rita Zoey Chin offers us herunforgettable story with richly textured, luminous prose—I fell in love withher book from the very first line.
— Mira Bartók, bestselling author of The Memory Palace

“Luminous…A haunting yet hopeful saga that shows how trauma and fear can transform themselves into enduring strength.”
— Publishers Weekly

“A near euphoric ode to the human spirit”
— The Huffington Post
Product Details
ISBN: 9781476734873
ISBN-10: 1476734879
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: August 25th, 2015
Pages: 336
Language: English