In March, we introduced a new service: the Reading Doctor. Read more about Dr Louise here. And do feel free to request further prescriptions, as needed!
Prescription #18: I'm interested in stories about motherhood. What do you recommend?
Literary depictions of motherhood
Earth mother, matriarch, mommy dearest, dance mom, yummy mummy, wicked stepmother, fairy godmother or helicopter mum: whether good or ill, maternal archetypes abound.
· Amy Brown’s verse journal of the first four months of motherhood, Neon Daze charts the dramatic reconfiguring of a parent’s world.
· Not for the faint-hearted is the deeply troubling Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates, which tells the story of a young woman in the 1950s whose plans for the future are disrupted by the suburban conformist rut of motherhood and domesticity.
· Shakespeare’s wife tells the story of the too-brief life of their son, Hamnet, in Maggie O’Farrell’s very moving novel.
· An unborn child is the narrator of a re-telling of Hamlet in Ian McEwan’s Nutshell, a story in which the child’s bond with his mother is crucial.
· Arlington Park is a delightfully biting portrait of life with small children – spent around other mothers and their small children – in suburban middle-class London, by Rachel Cusk, which spans a single day of domestic triumphs and tragedies.
· An ambivalence to motherhood is the undercurrent of Lionel Shriver’s We Have to Talk About Kevin, in which a mother struggles to love a son who has committed murder and wonders about the extent of her own responsibility.
· The subtle and complex politics of the playground are the context for Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty, in which the apparently trivial rivalries and conflicts between mothers hide more serious issues.
· Hilary Mantel’s debut novel was Every Day is Mother’s Day, a black comedy set in the 1970s and continued in her next novel, Vacant Possession.
· Making Babies: Stumbling into Motherhood is author Anne Enright’s account of her own experiences having children, of the mess, the glory and the raw shock.
· Exploring the conflicting emotions which tie us to our children, Elena Ferrante’s The Lost Daughter meditates on the connection between motherhood and womanhood.