XYZ Books, 2022. First edition. Hardcover, 60 pp., color illustrated, 150 x 225 mm. Photographs by Mariana Rocha. Text by Mariana Rocha, Sharon Young. Design by Dayana Lucas.
Mariana Rocha's Back and Forth portrays the threshold between love and hate. Family ties, new discoveries, griefs, little burdens and letting go occupy the territory of this not to be underestimated little book. A child's chalk drawing of a house - the archetypal home - rendered in pastels shatter the illusion of an independent woman that was beginning to build in these pages. Childhood longings and familial romanticised ideals are hard to shake off. What do we do when reality hits? Glimmers and drapery, shadow and tone sit awkwardly next to fierce self portraits and crumpled cars in a disorienting array of 'becoming' that is far removed from the traditional coming of age story. This is not a book about a particular linear progress, if we are honest about it whose life ever is? This is a punch in the face to the nuclear family icon. The house is falling on its side, the walls are hollow and the lines don't even match up. It's ramshackle, it's impossible to live with, but it's interesting. As Tolstoy insightfully put it "All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way." (Anna Karenina, 1877)