Paris, May 7, 2020 – As many people are self-isolating away from their relatives, Mother’s Day celebrations will be a little different this year.
Although family gatherings are restricted on account of the coronavirus, books are a great way to convey closeness and appreciation for the mother figure in your life.
Here is a selection of three novels to read from the comfort of your home or gift as an ebook for Mother’s Day.
1. ‘All Adults Here’ by Emma Straub
In her fourth novel, author and bookstore owner Emma Straub assembles a multigenerational cast of characters navigating through the difficulties of parenting and adulthood in the fictional town of Clapham, New York.
“All Adults Here” touches on the consequences of past decisions and mistakes on the younger generations of Astrid Strick’s family, a 68-year-old self-centred matriarch who believes that pets are “useful only in teaching small children about death.”
Strick witnesses a lifelong acquaintance getting hit and killed by an empty school bus, prompting her to realise that “there was no time to waste. There were always more school buses.”
Also joining Strick in her late-life reflection on parenthood are her two married sons, a precocious 13-year-old granddaughter, as well as an unmarried daughter who got pregnant by IVF and struggles to give up her own adolescence.
“All Adults Here” is currently listed for US$26.60, with an audiobook narrated by Emily Rankin also available.
2. ‘On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous’ by Ocean Vuong
“On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous” marks the debut novel of Vietnamese-American author Ocean Vuong, whose previous collection of poetry, “Night Sky with Exit Wounds,” garnered comparisons to Emily Dickinson.
“On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous” takes the form of a young Vietnamese-American writer’s letter to his illiterate mother Ma, whose education was brutally halted when her school in Vietnam collapsed after a napalm raid.
Little Dog was born in Vietnam, but his family fled as refugees to Hartford, Connecticut, in the 1990s when he was just a toddler.
Despite his troubled upbringing, the narrator finds solace in his doomed love affair with a rough American teenager, and ultimately through reading and writing.
“You asked me what it’s like to be a writer and I’m giving you a mess, I know. But it’s a mess, Ma — I’m not making this up. I made it down. That’s what writing is, after all the nonsense, getting down so low the world offers a merciful new angle, a larger vision made of small things, the lint suddenly a huge sheet of fog exactly the size of your eyeball,” Vuong writes.
“On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous” is currently listed at US$17.49, with an audiobook also available.
3. ‘Perfect Tunes’ by Emily Gould
In “Perfect Tunes,” Emily Gould offers readers the opportunity to better understand the exigencies of motherhood and compromise as they follow the tumultuous life journey of Laura.
This 22-year-old aspiring musician moved to New York City in the early 2000s, with the hopes of having experiences worth writing lyrics about for her debut album.
As she navigates the streets of the East Village in search of daily inspiration, Laura falls in love and later gets pregnant from another young aspiring musician, Dylan.
“She was just self-aware enough to know they were clichés but still young enough to think that things would be different for her,” Gould writes of her main protagonist, who she follows over more than a dozen years.
“Perfect Tunes” explores the struggles of Laura with motherhood and domesticity, as she sees her best friend living the future she envisioned for herself when she left Ohio, while her daughter, Marie, asks questions about her father that she is not willing to answer.
“Perfect Tunes” is currently listed at US$18.00, with an audiobook narrated by Candace Thaxton also available. – Reuters