Friday, 10 January 2014

Mother, Mother by Koren Zailckas

Reviewer: JJ Marsh, author of The Beatrice Stubbs series

What We Thought: A psychological thriller, masquerading as a domestic coming of age story.
Josephine Hurst is the eponymous Mother, whose two children relate their experiences from their own points of view. William and Violet are damaged, but neither has any idea how much. Their older sister Rose has run away, so now their mother’s full attention falls on them. It’s something they both crave and fear.
Rightly so.

Josephine is a sinister creation, manipulative and cruel, behind a facade of suburban bliss. The author creates layer upon layer of unreliable narrator, disturbing and unsettling until the fractured jigsaw puzzle of individual narratives begin to form an ugly shape.

There are one or two bum notes – a misunderstanding between father and son, plus a remarkable coincidence which furthers the plot – but overall, this is a writer exercising remarkable control over her narrative.

Not so much ‘makes your blood run cold’ but this story gradually chills you to the bone. We Need To Talk About Kevin in reverse.

You’ll enjoy this if you like: Lionel Shriver, Helen Fitzgerald, Alice Sebold, Jon Ronson.

Avoid if you dislike: Psychological cruelty, dysfunctional families, details of addiction.

Ideal accompaniments: Gin, persimmon and Richter’s version of Rachmaninoff’s Etude Tableaux Op.33 No.5.
Genre: Psychological thriller

No comments:

Post a Comment