Booker International Longlist 2022 – The Book of Mother
The Book of Mother by Violaine Huisman Translated by Leslie Camhi
Book – 9
Reviewed by Tracy
Synopsis from Booker Prize website: Violaine Huisman’s remarkable debut novel is an exquisitely wrought story about a daughter’s inextinguishable love for her magnetic, mercurial mother. Translated by Leslie Camhi.
Beautiful and charismatic, Catherine, aka ‘Maman’, smokes too much, drives too fast, laughs too hard and loves too extravagantly. During a joyful and chaotic childhood in Paris, her daughter Violaine wouldn’t have it any other way. But when Maman is hospitalised after a third divorce and breakdown, everything changes.
As the story of Catherine’s own traumatic childhood and coming of age 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.
Tracy’s Thoughts: Oh, my goodness. Maman (Catherine) is a hard loving, hard drinking, hard smoking woman with multiple marriages and two daughters who are dragged along for the wild and crazy ride. Her daughters want nothing but her love, and she gives them a lot, except discipline and boundaries.
Sounds like a country and western song- all that’s missing is prison and a truck.
This is one of the most disturbing, heart wrenching coming-of-age books I’ve read in a while. Maman and Violaine are vivid, almost violently drawn. The plot ran all over the place- that may have been deliberate- but it made the story hard to follow.
Writing quality: 4/5
Character development: 4/4
Plot development: 2/4
Overall enjoyment: 1.5/2
Elena Knows 18.25
Books of Jacob 18.25
Happy Stories, Mostly 16
The Book of Mother 16
After the Sun 11.33
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