Josephine Hurst has her family under control. With two beautiful daughters, a brilliantly intelligent son, a tech-guru of a husband and a historical landmark home, her life is picture perfect. Read more...
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Josephine Hurst has her family under control. With two beautiful daughters, a brilliantly intelligent son, a tech-guru of a husband and a historical landmark home, her life is picture perfect. She has everything she wants; all she has to do is keep it that way. But living in this matriarch's determinedly cheerful, yet subtly controlling domain hasn't been easy for her family, and when her oldest daughter, Rose, runs off with a mysterious boyfriend, Josephine tightens her grip, gradually turning her flawless home into a darker sort of prison.
Resentful of her sister's newfound freedom, Violet turns to eastern philosophy, hallucinogenic drugs, and extreme fasting, eventually landing herself in the psych ward. Meanwhile, her brother Will shrinks further into a world of self-doubt. Recently diagnosed with Aspergers and epilepsy, he's separated from the other kids around town and is homeschooled to ensure his safety. Their father, Douglas, finds resolve in the bottom of the bottle--an addict craving his own chance to escape. Josephine struggles to maintain the family's impeccable facade, but when a violent incident leads to a visit from child protective services, the truth about the Hursts might finally be revealed.
Written with the style, dark wit and shrewd psychological insight that made SMASHED a bestseller, Zailckas's first novel is unforgettable. In the spirit of classic suspense novels by Shirley Jackson and Daphne DuMaurier, MOTHER, MOTHER is the terrifying and page-turning story of a mother's love gone too far, and the introduction of a commanding new voice in fiction.
A family crumbling under maternal weight
Is there anything that Koren Zailckas can’t write? The young author first crashed onto the literary scene with her iconic best-selling memoir, Smashed, which chronicled her years of teenage alcoholism. Now, she is making her fiction debut, and it is just as captivating as her memoirs.
Mother, Mother introduces the Hurst family, living in upstate New York. There’s William, the 12-year-old autistic (and highly intelligent) son, who spends his days being homeschooled. Violet, his teenaged sister, would rather get high with her friends than spend another minute at home. Their father, Douglas, is an alcoholic programmer who’d prefer to hide behind office doors instead of showing his face at the dinner table. And there’s Josephine, the controlling, manipulative matriarch.
But there’s a family member on the periphery of this portrait that the rest are unable to think—let alone talk—about. Rose, a struggling perfectionist, had a budding career as a stage actress. However, when Rose runs away from home with her mysterious boyfriend Dante, breaking all contact with her family, it sets off a chain of events that threatens to tear the Hursts apart.
As the novel opens, Violet has been committed to a psychiatric hospital. Josephine claims that Violet stabbed William while high on acid, yet Violet has no recollection of having attacked her brother. Violet and William recount their memories of that chaotic evening in alternating chapters. As they struggle to uncover their family’s darkest secret, the siblings begin to question everything, especially their mother’s motives. Is William as ill as Josephine claims? Is Violet really dangerous? And what was the true impetus for Rose’s escape?
Mother, Mother is an exquisitely written psychological thriller. Readers will root for Violet and William as the siblings struggle to escape their mother’s terrifying clutches.
ALSO IN BOOKPAGE: Read a Q&A with Koren Zailckas for Mother, Mother.