A capable start full of raw truths


Book Title:
Mother mother


Annie macmanus


Indicative price:
£ 16.99

The most immediately sympathetic thing about Mother Mother is that she doesn’t try to be who she isn’t. By that I mean it’s quite unpretentious. I read this novel directly after reading the last installment of Deborah Levy’s memoir style trilogy, Real Estate. And after all that elegant golden language wrapped around a big pile of nothing, Mother Mother was an absolute tonic.

The writing here is straightforward and unaffected, the dialogue realistic and the depth of feelings sometimes astonishing. Although this is the debut of Annie MacManus, we find a confident author’s voice; it’s quite visible, but without any of the exposed nails and joists usual from exposed writing courses. It’s a novel that does exactly what it’s supposed to do, and does it with real skill.

No, it’s not revolutionary, it won’t stop all the clocks, but, again, I don’t think the author intended him to. (She being the Radio 1 DJ known as Annie Mac – a fact that made me nervous about reviewing the book again, fearing another episode of the “Look, a celebrity wrote a novel” trend. – buy now !”

Instead, MacManus proves to be a truly capable novelist, uniquely good at portraying the realities of a broken, working-class Belfast family, and their dark and shifting tides of love and despair. We are presented with three generations of lost people, trying (and often failing) to make their lives work, in the face of the brutality of living in a harsh, sometimes violent environment. They are isolated in their shared grief, unable to know how to feel, how to cope.

Small details, such as the mustard-colored stains on the outside of a toilet bowl, the white dots clustered on the side of a teenager’s nose, the stale smell of alcohol on the breath, immerse the reader in a transparent and elegant way in their world. Difficult topics such as addiction and consent are explored with understated grace, leaving us, not with didactic judgments (there is no hashtagable philosophy), but the raw and true realities of things as they are. are.

And, in the end, I don’t know what greater praise there could be for a traditional novel than to say that it manages to convey things as they really are (while still being a really good read, well. sure).


About Mary Moser

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