Books with a different take on motherhood
Published on 23rd June 2021
A number of books about motherhood published in recent years are taking a different slant. Avni Doshi’s debut Burnt Sugar made the 2020 Booker shortlist with its stunning portrayal of ambivalent motherhood, while Blue Ticket by Sophie Mackintosh examined parental longing.
If you enjoyed either, then prepare yourself for Rachel Yoder’s provocative novel, which has already been snapped up for a film adaptation starring Amy Adams. Yoder drew on her own experiences of loneliness and isolation in early motherhood to create a fantastical and bold concept: that of an artist who, wrenched from her creative work by her infant, turns into a dog to better connect with the sense of self she has lost.
At home full-time with her two-year-old son, an artist finds she is struggling. She is lonely and exhausted. She had imagined - what was it she had imagined? Her husband, always travelling for his work, calls her from faraway hotel rooms. One more toddler bedtime, and she fears she might lose her mind.
Instead, quite suddenly, she starts gaining things, surprising things that happen one night when her child will not sleep. Sharper canines. Strange new patches of hair. New appetites, new instincts. And from deep within herself, a new voice...
With its clear eyes on contemporary womanhood and sharp take on structures of power, Nightbitch is an outrageously original, joyfully subversive read that will make you want to howl in laughter and recognition. Addictive enough to be devoured in one sitting, this is an unforgettable novel from a blazing new talent.
'I would be lying if I said my mother's misery has never given me pleasure.' This is a tale of obsession and betrayal. This is a poisoned love story. But not between lovers - between mother and daughter. Tara and Antara, the woman and her angry shadow. But which one is which? Sharp as a blade and compulsively readable, Burnt Sugar slowly untangles the knot of memory and fiction that binds two women together, revealing the truth that lies beneath. Shortlisted for the Booker Prize 2020 Longlisted for the Women's Prize for Fiction 2021. Winner of the Sushila Devi Award 2021.
Blue Ticket is a devastating enquiry into free will and the fraught space of motherhood. Bold and chilling, it pushes beneath the skin of female identity and patriarchal violence, to the point where human longing meets our animal bodies.
Calla knows how the lottery works. Everyone does. On the day of your first bleed, you report to the station to learn what kind of woman you will be. A white ticket grants you children. A blue ticket grants you freedom. You are relieved of the terrible burden of choice. And, once you've taken your ticket, there is no going back. But what if the life you're given is the wrong one?