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The Lost Mother: Book summary and reviews of The Lost Mother by Mary McGarry Morris

The Lost Mother

A Novel

by Mary McGarry Morris

The Lost Mother by Mary McGarry Morris X
The Lost Mother by Mary McGarry Morris
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  • Published in USA  Feb 2005
    288 pages
    Genre: Novels

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Book Summary

Since the publication of her astonishing debut, Vanished, Mary McGarry Morris has been compared with John Steinbeck and Carson McCullers and widely praised as "a superb storyteller" (The Washington Post) and "one of our finest American writers" (The Miami Herald). Now, in her sixth novel, Morris has achieved new heights with her riveting chronicle of the Talcotts, a family in rural Vermont during the Great Depression.

Abandoned by his beautiful wife, Irene, Henry and their two young children, Thomas and Margaret, spend that summer in a tent on the edge of Black Pond. Henry, an itinerant butcher, struggles to provide for them, but often must leave them alone as he travels the county in search of work. And while Henry loves his children deeply, he is devastated by their mother’s desertion. He has not told them why she left or if she’ll return. When Mrs. Phyllis Farley, a prosperous neighbor, begins to woo the children as companions for her strange, housebound son, Henry must weigh an unusual proposition, the consequences of which may cost him everything. Powerfully imagined and intensely felt, The Lost Mother is a haunting masterwork and McGarry Morris’s strongest novel to date.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Never one to shy away from the messy and bleak, Morris [proves] herself a storyteller of great compassion, insight and depth." - Publishers Weekly.

"Painstaking detail provides richness and a valuable history lesson on 1930s America." - School Library Journal.

"Morris's plot, with its twists and reversals (too many and too exciting to recount here), feels tragic in its inevitability. And yet, to the reader's amazement, its message is ultimately redemptive and affirming. This may be the saddest story ever to have a happy ending. It surely is the quietest, subtlest novel that ever kept me up into the small hours of the night, unable to look away." - The Washington Post, Richard Grant.

"Morris' nearly flawless prose is mesmerizing." - Booklist.

"A mother remorselessly abandons her children in a cheap tearjerker." - Kirkus Reviews.

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Reader Reviews

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Dorothy T.

Lost children
I kept thinking, "Enough already" as I read, as one tragedy after another befalls these poor children. Then all at once everything is tied up neatly at the end. I can't say that the characters or settings are enough to overcome the thin, melodramatic story.

This is the only book I have read by this author. I am not eager to read another.

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Author Information

Mary McGarry Morris Author Biography

Photo: Author website

Mary McGarry Morris was born in Meriden, Connecticut in 1943 and raised in Rutland, Vermont with three younger brothers. She was educated at Mount Saint Joseph Academy in Rutland, the University of Vermont, and the University of Massachusetts.

Her first novel Vanished was published in 1988. It was nominated for the National Book Award and the PEN/Faulkner Award. A Dangerous Woman was published in 1991 and was chosen by Time magazine as one of the "Five Best Novels of the Year." It was made into a motion picture starring Debra Winger, Barbara Hershey, and Gabriel Byrne. Songs In Ordinary Time was published in 1995. Two years later, it was chosen as an Oprah's Book Club selection, which propelled it to the top of the New York Times bestsellers list for many weeks, as well as making ...

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Link to Mary McGarry Morris's Website

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