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Mothers and Other Strangers

av Gina Sorell

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
6216430,748 (3.48)7
Fiction. Literature. Suspense. Thriller. HTML:A "mesmerizing and quietly revealing" novel about a woman's quest to understand her glamorous, cruel, recently deceased mother (Publishers Weekly).

"My father proposed to my mother at gunpoint when she was nineteen, and knowing that she was already pregnant with a dead man's child, she accepted."

Thus begins this spellbinding story of Elsie's journey toward understanding her late mother, a narcissist who left her only child an inheritance of debts and mysteries. A dancer in Los Angeles, Elsie was estranged from her mother for years. But now she's back in Toronto, trying to piece together the shards that remain of her mother's life.

Meanwhile, she must cope with threats that comeor so she suspectsfrom The Seekers, the cult-like spiritual program to which her mother belonged. Undaunted, Elsie works to unravel the message her dying mother left for her, which ultimately takes her to the South African family homestead she never knew existed.

A Refinery29 Best Book of 2017.

"Shattering and brilliant, this marks the debut of an astonishing talent." Caroline Leavitt, New York Times bestselling author of Pictures of You

"A fascinating look at a unique and fractured parent-child relationship . . . engaging and tense." Kirkus Reviews

"Sorell reveals herself as an author to watch . . . Ultimately, the sinister romance here, combined with an unflinching exploration of what can contribute to a mental breakdown, left me wanting to read whatever Sorell writes next." The Globe & Mail

"Riveting." Good Housekeeping

"A stunning debut, Mothers and Other Strangers grips from page one." Robin Black, author of Life Drawing

"A memorable first novel, a delightfully twisty gothic with the strange and eerie urgency of a fable or a dream." Dan Chaon, author of Ill Will and You Remind Me of Me

"This book is a must read for anyone who has struggled to understand their own parents." Robert Eversz, author of Shooting Elvis.
… (mer)
  1. 00
    Mother, Mother av Koren Zailckas (Bookmarque)
    Bookmarque: Another book showing how dangerous narcissism is in a mother.
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Visa 1-5 av 16 (nästa | visa alla)
To be honest, I thought MOTHERS AND OTHER STRANGERS was a thriller. At least that is the feeling I got from the book's blurb. The first thing the blurb says about the book is: "My father proposed to my mother at gunpoint when she was nineteen, and knowing that she was already pregnant with a dead man's child, she accepted." Wow, that is what I call a captivating line. I just had to read this book! Alas, this book is not a thriller. It's about a woman finding herself, learning more about the past, and finding peace.

READ THE WHOLE REVIEW OVER AT FRESH FICTION! ( )
  MaraBlaise | Jul 23, 2022 |
This book grabs you at the opening lines and won't let you go.
Elsie dreams of fire and doesn't fully understand how deep her mother's ties to a group called the Seekers was until her mother's death. The discovery of a bundle of photos & a priceless ring take Elsie from her home in Canada to Africa on a journey that leads her to the past she never knew she had.

A stunning, rich and heartfelt debut of suspense. ( )
  ShannonRose4 | Sep 15, 2020 |
This book grabs you at the opening lines and won't let you go.
Elsie dreams of fire and doesn't fully understand how deep her mother's ties to a group called the Seekers was until her mother's death. The discovery of a bundle of photos & a priceless ring take Elsie from her home in Canada to Africa on a journey that leads her to the past she never knew she had.

A stunning, rich and heartfelt debut of suspense. ( )
  ShannonRose4 | Sep 15, 2020 |
Mothers and Other Strangers has a killer opening line: My father proposed to my mother at gunpoint when she was 19, and knowing that she was already pregnant with a dead man's child, she accepted. It's hard to beat an opener like that, and impossible for the rest of the book to live up to the promise of that one perfect sentence.

Elsie is thirty-nine, but still living under the shadow of having been raised by a neglectful, self-involved woman. After her mother dies, she goes back to Toronto to clear out and sell her mother's apartment. The act of being back brings back memories and brings her back into contact with the odd, Scientology-like sect her mother had belonged to. They break into her mother's apartment, looking for something they don't find, but it's the tentacles they've left in Elsie's mind that prove to be the greater danger. Elsie was born in South Africa and still has vivid memories of the fire that killed her father and separated her from the woman who cared for her. Elsie is then raised in Canada, without any contact with any relatives in South Africa and as she finds clues in her mother's things she realizes she has to confront not only the religious sect that took over her mother's life, but also the past left behind in South Africa.

In many ways, this is a typical novel of the kind that involves a woman in peril who has to follow clues to resolving her past while protecting herself from nebulous dangers. But Gina Sorell writes well and the plot is unpredictable and eventful enough to keep the pages turning. It was impossible for any debut novelist to fulfill the promise of the opening sentence, and the ordinariness of the resulting novel was a disappointment, but Sorell shows enough promise there for me to look forward to whatever she writes next. ( )
  RidgewayGirl | Dec 29, 2017 |
Elsie had spent the majority of her life estranged from her mother and despite her attempts at therapy and self-help, she never fully recovered from her mother's passive disinterest in her life. As a young girl, Elsie's mother spent more time charming strangers and participating in a religious cult than she did parenting. Elsie learned from early on that efforts to try to elicit attention from her mother would almost certainly be unsuccessful.

So when Elsie's mother passes on from cancer, Elsie is notified as the next of kin and executor of her will. Her mother's entire life had been a mystery to her and as she begins to sort through her mother's belongings, Elsie gradually learns that her mother was hiding some deep secrets about her past, which others wanted to keep hidden. As she sorts through her mother's secret life, Elsie comes to realize that the decisions she has made with others (ex-husband, etc.) have all stemmed from her unresolved relationship with her mother and a past that she never understood.

This novel seemed to be a hybrid of women's fiction, mystery, and a cultural narrative. I became absorbed in the storytelling, which I found to be well-written. Although I would have preferred the plot to move a little faster, I thought the mother's narcissistic and self-absorbed character was dead-on accurate. The feelings of rejection and confusion that Elsie experienced, due to no fault of her own, were real and palpable. I thought this was a very realistic portrayal of the emotional and hidden damage that a narcissistic mother can do to a daughter, who spends her whole life wondering why she was never good enough or interesting enough to garner her mother's attention. A great debut novel by a gifted storyteller. ( )
  voracious | Sep 11, 2017 |
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For my parents, Denny and Leonie, 
never strangers, always friends.

And my loves Jeff and Grady, 
home is where you are.
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My father proposed to my mother at gunpoint when she was nineteen, and knowing that she was already pregnant with a dead man's child, she accepted.
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Fiction. Literature. Suspense. Thriller. HTML:A "mesmerizing and quietly revealing" novel about a woman's quest to understand her glamorous, cruel, recently deceased mother (Publishers Weekly).

"My father proposed to my mother at gunpoint when she was nineteen, and knowing that she was already pregnant with a dead man's child, she accepted."

Thus begins this spellbinding story of Elsie's journey toward understanding her late mother, a narcissist who left her only child an inheritance of debts and mysteries. A dancer in Los Angeles, Elsie was estranged from her mother for years. But now she's back in Toronto, trying to piece together the shards that remain of her mother's life.

Meanwhile, she must cope with threats that comeor so she suspectsfrom The Seekers, the cult-like spiritual program to which her mother belonged. Undaunted, Elsie works to unravel the message her dying mother left for her, which ultimately takes her to the South African family homestead she never knew existed.

A Refinery29 Best Book of 2017.

"Shattering and brilliant, this marks the debut of an astonishing talent." Caroline Leavitt, New York Times bestselling author of Pictures of You

"A fascinating look at a unique and fractured parent-child relationship . . . engaging and tense." Kirkus Reviews

"Sorell reveals herself as an author to watch . . . Ultimately, the sinister romance here, combined with an unflinching exploration of what can contribute to a mental breakdown, left me wanting to read whatever Sorell writes next." The Globe & Mail

"Riveting." Good Housekeeping

"A stunning debut, Mothers and Other Strangers grips from page one." Robin Black, author of Life Drawing

"A memorable first novel, a delightfully twisty gothic with the strange and eerie urgency of a fable or a dream." Dan Chaon, author of Ill Will and You Remind Me of Me

"This book is a must read for anyone who has struggled to understand their own parents." Robert Eversz, author of Shooting Elvis.

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