I’ve just read another two books about mothers and daughters. These short novels are rather different to the mother and daughter story in my last post though …
I found it very hard to engage with this book. The tale of a daughter returning to her home town after her mother’s death and discovering her mother had a secret life was interesting, however the author’s preoccupation with bodily functions and secretions made it a little too earthily blunt and somewhat sordid for me. However symbolic it was, I didn’t need to know every time Delia had to change her tampon!
The story of Plectrude, an orphan born of a mother who murdered her father when he suggested a silly name for their baby. Her mother then committed suicide, leaving Plectrude to be brought up by her sister, who always wanted to be a ballerina. Plectrude has a difficult time at school, but then gets accepted by the ballet school, and learns to be anorexic before finally finding love and becoming a swan.
I hope that real ballet school is not all like that in this book, where the girls are ruled by a rod of iron that make them willingly starve themselves and drive their emaciated bodies to the absolute limits of their endurance. The vicarious pleasure that Plectrude’s aunt took in her charge’s body was also troubling.
Both serious and silly, this short little novel has plenty to say for itself, and I enjoyed it – racing through to see how Plectrude would fare in life, especially once she finds out about her mother… I would definitely like to read more by this author. 8/10