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To those in her Cape Cod town, Mother is an exemplar of piety, frugality, and hard work. To her husband and seven children, she is a selfish, petty tyrant. She excels at playing her offspring against each other. Her favorite, Angela, died in childbirth; only Angela really understands her, she tells the others. The others include the officious lawyer, Fred; the uproarious professor, Floyd; a pair of inseparable sisters whose devotion to Mother has consumed their lives; and JP, the narrator, a successful writer whose work she disparages. As she lives well past the age of one hundred, her brood struggles with and among themselves to shed her viselike hold on them.
Mother Land is a piercing portrait of how a parent’s narcissism impacts a family. While the particulars of his tale are unique, Paul Theroux encapsulates with acute clarity and wisdom a circumstance that is familiar to millions of readers.
“Paul Theroux ladles a steaming cup of dysfunctional-family chowder in Mother Land.” — Vanity Fair
“An engrossing, emotionally tangled and often merciless examination of family and self . . . Mother Land is a bittersweet, brutally frank family saga that offers enough redemption to make the journey worth it.” — Shelf Awareness
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