Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Eight titles about fraught mother-daughter relationships

Kayla Maiuri holds an MFA in fiction writing from Columbia University. Born in the greater Boston area, she now lives in Brooklyn.

Mother in the Dark is her first novel.

At Electric Lit Maiuri tagged "eight books that explore the ways mothers and daughters can love, wound, and haunt," including:
Mildred Pierce by James M. Cain

Set in Depression-era Glendale, California, Mildred Pierce follows a mother-daughter pairing fueled by competition and jealousy. Cain centers a single mother, Mildred, who loves in a well-intentioned but smothering way, “acting less like a mother than like a lover who had unexpectedly discovered an act of faithlessness, and avenged it,” and a reptilian daughter, Veda, who seems determined to break her mother’s spirits. The novel reveals the emotional manipulation that can exist amongst mothers and daughters, and the dangers of a parent stifling their own needs for their child’s. I’ve read many novels about mother-monsters; the monster-daughter is rarer. You will be haunted by Veda’s horrific acts long after you’ve finished.
Read about another entry on the list.

Mildred Pierce is among Annaleese Jochems's great third wheels of literature, Carol Goodman's top ten books that explore the fears & ambivalences of motherhood, Patricia Abbott's five favorite novels about mothers and daughters, and Ester Bloom's ten favorite fictional feminists.

--Marshal Zeringue