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The Book of Mother by Violane Huisman

The Book of Mother by Violane Huisman

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Met by rave reviews in The New YorkerThe New York Times, and more, this stunning translation of Violaine Huisman’s “witty, immersive autofiction showcases a Parisian childhood with a charismatic, depressed parent” (Oprah Daily). Beautiful and magnetic, Catherine, a.k.a. “Maman,” smokes too much, drives too fast, laughs too hard, and loves too extravagantly, and her daughter Violaine wouldn’t have it any other way.

But when Maman is hospitalized after a third divorce and a breakdown, everything changes. Even as Violaine and her sister long for their mother’s return, once she’s back Maman’s violent mood swings and flagrant disregard for personal boundaries soon turn their home into an emotional landmine. As the story of Catherine’s own traumatic childhood and adolescence unfolds, the pieces come together to form an indelible portrait of a mother as irresistible as she is impossible, as triumphant as she is transgressive.

With spectacular ferocity of language, a streak of dark humor, and stunning emotional bravery, 
The Book of Mother is an exquisitely wrought story of a mother’s dizzying heights and devastating lows, and a daughter who must hold her memory close in order to surrender, and finally move on.

REVIEWS

"Marvelous... superbly effective. One develops a soft spot for many of Huisman’s characters, despite their hideous and sometimes criminal behavior. Their larger-than-life swagger is the first lure. Their human frailty is the second. [The Book of Mother is] a labor of love, which considers primal conflict with a tender psychological acuity. It’s as if Huisman has fought with her mother, surrendered to her, and finally moved on. Katy Waldman, The New Yorker

"[Maman]—proud, intoxicating, and manic-depressive—still carries the confusion and loneliness of her own childhood and is determined to hold her daughters close. Hiding 'neither her body nor her lovers,' Maman tells stories from her life 'continuously, ad nauseam, an unbearable monologue.' Huisman initially narrates from her childhood perspective, then zooms out to cover the whole of Maman’s life, in a tableau that captures a filial love as fierce and frank as its central figure."
The New Yorker, "In Brief" Review

"A prize-winning sensation in France, Huisman’s witty, immersive autofiction showcases a Parisian childhood with a charismatic, depressed parent."
Oprah Daily

The Book of Mother, a portrait in three parts, is also a study in perspective, a rummaging for the vantage from which its author, Violaine Huisman, might see her mother, Catherine, anew...Huisman declares her mission: to return her mother to earth, 'become the narrator of her story in order to give her back her humanity'…That the madness of Violaine’s childhood left her 'deeply marked' is both hardly in doubt and not the subject of this tender, searching book. Instead, the daughter figures as both a character in her mother’s story and its teller, taking one last survey of the wreckage, as if her own life depends on it.”New York Times Book Review


PRODUCT DETAILS
Paperback
Publisher: Scribner
ISBN: 978-1982108786
Pages: 224