Monthly Archives: May 2017

The Mother, by Yvvette Edwards

themother

The Mother

Yvvette Edwards

Amistad, 2016

256 pages

Yvvette Edwards’ A Cupboard Full of Coats is a favorite debut. I reviewed it back in 2013. It’s a novel about family and loss, and I blew through the book, while treasuring her writing and insights. It was a book that should have gotten more attention than it did.

Last year, Edwards published her second novel, The Mother. It is as moving as the first. Writing again about family and loss, The Mother focuses on Marcia Williams, a mother whose son was murdered and how she comes to terms with his death. I was riveted.

Set in London, Ryan Williams was a successful and responsible 16-year old boy who was stabbed to death by another teen, Tyson Manley, after school. The book recounts Tyson’s trial. Told in a close first-person point of view, the book recounts Marcia’s grief as she sits through the trial and learns the details of her son’s relationship with Tyson; they were connected though a girl, Sweetie.

As the trial progresses, Marcia becomes increasingly alienated from her husband, Lloydie, who is in such denial about his son’s death that he can’t attend the trial nor talk to Marcia about it. This novel is a powerful look at how a mother who tried to provide all he could for her son realizes that she ultimately couldn’t keep him safe, and how she begins to rebuild her life in the wake of this terrible loss.

I was so moved by this story and the way Edwards grapples with themes of race, crime and loss. This is a sad book, but deeply engrossing.

Edwards lives in London and is working on her next book. Waterstones published an interview with her about the book and her process of writing it.

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Dear Readers

I’ve been thinking of you for months. I’ve read books that I wanted to tell you about. I’ve even drafted blogs posts that I didn’t make live. A day doesn’t go by when I don’t think about you, dear readers. Sorry for my absence.

I have not stopped reading debuts, but at the end of 2016 I found myself reading books by authors at all stages of their careers and I have continued to read widely this year. I thought Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad was a masterpiece. I tore through Vivian Gornick’s latest memoir, The Odd Woman and the City. Then I read Mohsin Hamid’s debut, Moth Smoke, which was published 17 years ago, and is an intriguing look at wealth and power in Pakistan. I can’t wait to read his latest, Exit West.

As my reading list rambles, I’m considering a new twist on the blog where I continue to write about debuts, but also write about reading and writing more generally. My ideas are in the whisper stage right now.

More to come and in the meantime, I’d love to hear about any books that have captured your attention lately.

Thanks for your patience!

Kate

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