27 December 2009

Best Reads

I'm currently reading Circling My Mother by Mary Gordon.

Gordon is one of the best writers I've come across in a long time. She has woven her mother's story into her own so that at once the reader discovers a path of life familiar to all human stories. Born of a mother disabled by polio, Gordon gently tells the story from her childhood eyes rocking back and forth between the business woman mother and the mother crippled as much from a disfunctional family as by her polio. The book begins with a trip to a museum to see Bonnard's work, art that becomes for Gordon a therapy and a lens; both of which help Gordon understand her mother (Anna) and the relationship of an only child with a mother widowed by a husband who never told either of them of his previous marriage. Coming full circle, the book ends with Bonnard's work and this time the reader, with Gordon, becomes the voyuer, wondering how appropriate it is to expose our mothers' most intimate parts--body and soul.

Anna has grown old into her nineties and with aging has come dementia. Her daughter, now acclaimed author, must care for her through the hands of a nursing home staff. The tension of loving and resenting a mother who loved large and lived even larger than life, for the author, does not end with death.

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