For all the kinds of bonds and bonding there are, nothing has the power and perpetuity of the mother-daughter bond, a bond forged by birth, shared burdens, continuously bolstered as it goes on to fashion the future. The bond mirrors the tenderness and terror of Mother Nature herself, always intense and invigorating, protean and prodigious, instinctive and intellectual, and plenty more. No wonder that this relationship can challenge and channel language in new directions as writers try to depict the bond in endless endeavours, a continuity matched only by the indestructibility of DNA that traces descent from the timeless past into the infinite to future.
This vital and primordial love has the tenderest of nuances, especially when expressed in literature, a palimpsest and kaleidoscope of colours and patterns. As Mother’s Day approaches, the three dimensions time shuffle and merge into each other—the Mother sees herself in her inner mind’s eye, reminiscing as a daughter, as a Mother herself, and sees in her own daughter her own life relived and relished. The authors present to us a fusion of vision and a veritable cornucopia of experience that you can revisit this Mother’s Day with discounts on books.
Here are five carefully chosen books, incredible in their range and reach that are at once consolatory and critical, cathartic, and colossal, searing and searching in their celebration of the Mother-Daughter relationship:
1. Home Safe by Elizabeth Berg
Source – cloudfront.net
When Helen Ames, novelist and newly-widowed, finds it difficult to adjust to the untimely death of her husband, she finds her relationship with her 27-year old daughter reversed as she depends on her for practically everything. But dependence soon morphs into an intolerable interference and a hydra-headed trouble is born. The plot develops new dimensions as Helen learns that her recently deceased husband who was seemed so gentle and loyal, was apparently leading a double life. Helen, who had painstakingly saved for a happy and comfortable retirement, now shockingly finds that her entire life’s savings have vanished in several large withdrawals made by her husband before his death. In a bid to support herself and her prized independence, Helen takes an unusual job that ends up lending a new dimension to her life. These sudden turns of events put Helen on a surprising path of discovery that causes both mother and daughter to reassess their relationship at almost every level and aspect. Home Safe by Elizabeth Berg is all about that discovery about each other, themselves, and what really makes a home and a family worth living and loving for.
2. Harriet Wolf’s Seventh Book of Wonders by Julianna Baggot
Source – wordpress.com
The seemingly endless and ever deeper wonders suggested by the ordinal number seventh spans three generations of women—a mother, her daughter, and her two granddaughters. The book is at the centre of the story, quite literally. The family is reunited by a hospitalisation, and Harriet’s fifth and last book with it is mystery, and her own life, hang in the balance. The novel holds its secrets as the reader wonders if Harriet’s mystery will be solved or will remain one forever. Uncomfortable questions rise up as the story progresses. It lifts us into a panoramic view of life and its emotions—love, motherhood, family, as these evolve in time and circumstance. Relationships are tested relentlessly by the vicissitudes of life as they churn in the vortex of emotions and actions that make us human.
3. Where We Belong by Emily Giffin
Source – amazon.com
Where We Belong is a heartwarming story of a mother and her daughter caught in the titanic tussle of truth and existence. The story revolves around Marian Caldwell, a 36 year old television producer. Marian lives in New York City, and has successfully crafted an accomplished life for herself. With a fulfilling career and satisfying relationship on her hands, she almost feels that she has conquered the world—until one night she opens the door to a knock, only to find an eighteen-year old standing at her steps. Kirby Rose, as the girl is known, is a shadow of Marian’s past that she locked up years back. From the moment Kirby appears, Marian’s perfectly constructed world is shaken to the core. In addition to it, the resurrecting skeletons of her passionate past threatens to contort everything that identified and defined her.
This encounter will spur a process of discovery, as the two women now embark on a journey to find the missing threads of their lives. Eventually, both will come to recognize that where we belong is often where we least expect to find ourselves. No matter in which place we may have willed ourselves to forget, but that the heart remembers forever.
4. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
Source – upperdublinlibrary.org
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is one of the most loved American classics, which revolves around a young and vulnerable, Francie Nolan. The author of this book, Betty Smith, has woven this beautiful story with contrasting emotions leaving the readers flooded in copious feelings time and again. While, there are compassion and cruelty going hand in hand, you also have moments of laughter and heartache that will leave you overwhelmed. This novel is cluttered with life, people and incidents that bind them together, as if by a rope. The enchanting story of Nolan has inspired a host of people because of the sensitive and idealistic portrayal of the protagonist against all odds. The array of emotions on display along with the tenderness of the family ties makes this novel an incredibly uplifting experience for any reader.
5. Before We Visit the Goddess by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
Source – cloudfront.net
Before We Visit the Goddess by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni juxtaposes and interweaves three perspectives of life from three different stages of life as experienced within the same family.
Sabitri, the ambitious daughter of a renowned sweetmaker Durga, falls in love with Rajib, out of bounds for her as she, an upstart, sinfully tries to touch the higher echelons of society. Deception and intrigue follow, and Sabitri finds herself in a pretty pickle. She finds a saviour in a man of character, Bijan, who respectfully offers love and marriage. But yet again, things turn turbulent for Sabitri, when people from her clandestine past sweep into her life like a torrent. How Sabitri reconstructs her life, her fractured relationship with her daughter, Bela, and her wistful longing for Tara (her granddaughter whom she has never met), is what forms the unifying thread of this consuming tale. Spread across seven decades and two continents, this offering by Divakaruni unfolds various realms of life underlined with love, deceit, regret, redemption and longing. This bitter-sweet matriarchal saga stands tall on the author’s artistry, and rivets you to your seat, making you ponder and absorb the tale of human hope and despair, idealism and cynicism with sobs and smiles.
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