Saturday, May 12, 2018

Ten books that explore the fears & ambivalences of motherhood

Carol Goodman is the critically acclaimed author of over a dozen novels, including The Lake of Dead Languages and The Seduction of Water, which won the 2003 Hammett Prize. Her books have been translated into sixteen languages. She lives in the Hudson Valley with her family, and teaches writing and literature at the New School and SUNY New Paltz.

Goodman's latest novel is The Other Mother.

One of ten books she tagged at CrimeReads "exploring the dark undertow of maternal angst and ambivalence, and society’s collective anxiety about what it means to be a mother:"
Can a mother love her child too much? Can she be too self-sacrificing? That’s the question James M. Cain poses in his 1941 noir masterpiece Mildred Pierce. Mildred is the perfect self-sacrificing mother, waitressing and baking pies to support her two daughters through the Depression after she’s left their unemployed dad. But all her hard work and sacrifice spawns an ungrateful monster of a daughter, Veda, whose name, which means “knowledge” in Sanskrit, also conjures up the Hindi goddess of destruction, Shiva. It’s as if that wild primeval force of mother-love has been embodied in the destructive offspring.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Mildred Pierce is among Patricia Abbott's five favorite novels about mothers and daughters and Ester Bloom's ten favorite fictional feminists.

--Marshal Zeringue