Excerpt from The Book of Mother by Violaine Huisman, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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The Book of Mother

A Novel

by Violaine Huisman

The Book of Mother by Violaine Huisman X
The Book of Mother by Violaine Huisman
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     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Oct 2021, 224 pages

    Paperback:
    Oct 2022, 224 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Callum McLaughlin
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About this Book

Print Excerpt


The story ended with her being locked up, her need to pull through for her daughters' sake. As evidence of her daughters' need for her, she chose to publish poems which my sister and I had written for her. She wrote that she had received them while still in the hospital, that the poems had cut through the fog of antipsychotics, had cleared her head with a force far more powerful than the electroshocks the orderlies were administering. My poem was a talisman. This was all invented for the sake of the narrative she was shaping in her book, but I had really written that poem, and it was soon impossible for me to untangle the truth from the story she was weaving. She had me write out a fair copy of my poem on graph paper, and that's the way it appeared in the book, in a color photocopy. I recognized my childish handwriting, I recognized the blue and pink tints of the lines in the Clairefontaine notebook. She had had me write the date, and my name and my grade in the upper-left-hand corner, like a piece of homework I'd handed in to my teacher. This element of realism tore a hole through the memory. That date was probably a falsehood, but I was no longer certain of that. I caught myself believing her literary invention. Yes, after all, perhaps she had received my poem in the hospital? Perhaps my verses had given her faith in the future. Perhaps poetry can help a person live a little longer.

Excerpted from The Book of Mother by Violaine Huisman. Copyright © 2021 by Violaine Huisman. Reprinted with permission of Scribner, a Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.

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