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Mother of Sorrows by Richard McCann
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Mother of Sorrows (1997)

by Richard McCann

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Epigraph
And when the mother entered, as if in a dream, a glass quaked in the silent china closet. She felt it, how the room was betraying her, and kissed her child, saying, "Are you here?" Then both looked toward the piano in fear, for often at evening they would have a song in which the child found himself strangely caught. - Ranier Maria Rilke, "From Childhood"
Dedication
For Mimi - My first word, The first love of my life
First words
Each night, after dinner, my father went downstairs to his workbench to build birdhouses, which he fashioned from scraps of wood left over from pine-paneling our basement.
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Book description
Mother of Sorrows is a portrait of an American family living in the post WWII suburbs of Washington, D.C. - a world of tract houses, fallout shelters, and sun-struck, treeless lawns, a world from which grief and sexuality have seemingly been banned. The narrator, whose father dies when he is eleven, falls under the spell of his adored mother: "Our Mother of the Late Movies and the Cigarettes...Our Mother of Sudden Attentiveness...Our Mother of Sudden Anger." In chronicling his youth, he looks back at this world that he has tried to fell in a attempt to create a life of his own. Suffused with the painful beauty of both remembering and longing, RM exploration of the entanglements of family, the experiences of shame, and the difficult closeness between a child and a parent introduces us to a voice that he is contemplative, tentative, angry, elegant, revelatory, witty, and like no other in comtemporary fiction. (ARC)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0679411763, Hardcover)

With the breadth and cumulative force of a novel, Mother of Sorrows presents ten interwoven stories of an American family starting out in the post—World War II suburbs of Washington, D.C., a world of identical brick houses and sunstruck, treeless lawns, a world of initial hopefulness from which shame and loss have seemingly been banished. This is the story of two adolescent brothers whose father has suddenly died, and of their beautiful and complicated mother, a mother whom the younger son worshipfully imagines as “Our Mother of the Sighs and Heartaches . . . Our Mother of the Gorgeous Gypsy Earrings . . . Our Mother of the Late Movies and the Cigarettes . . . Our Mother of Sudden Attentiveness . . . Our Mother of Sudden Anger.” This is the brother who narrates these tales as he looks back thirty years later, the only remaining survivor of a world he seeks both to leave behind and to preserve in words forever, a world of sorrow that has held him spellbound even as he has attempted to create a life of his own.

Suffused with the beauty of Richard McCann’s extraordinary language, Mother of Sorrows introduces us to a voice that is urgent, contemplative, elegant, angry, revelatory, and like no other in contemporary fiction.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:43:58 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

With the breadth and cumulative force of a novel, this book presents ten interwoven stories of an American family in the post-World War II suburbs of Washington, D.C., a world of identical brick houses and sunstruck, treeless lawns, a world of initial hopefulness from which shame and loss have seemingly been banished. This is the story of two adolescent brothers whose father has suddenly died, and of their beautiful and complicated mother, a mother whom the younger son worshipfully imagines as "Our Mother of the Sighs and Heartaches ... Our Mother of the Gorgeous Gypsy Earrings ... Our Mother of Sudden Anger." The brother narrates these tales as he looks back thirty years later, the only remaining survivor of a world he seeks both to leave behind and to preserve in words forever, a world of sorrow that has held him spellbound even as he has attempted to create a life of his own.--From publisher description.… (more)

» see all 2 descriptions

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