Every Day is Mother’s Day – Hilary Mantel

Every Day is Mother’s Day – Hilary Mantel – book review

I was disappointed with this one. I loved Wolf Hall and Bringing Up the Bodies so I thought I’d see what else she had done. This is an odd story.

There’s two stories in the novel, one is about an unhappy man having an affair with a social worker. I’m depressed for him and and his dull life. He’s plodding along in boring suburban life with children he doesn’t seem to like and a wife he doesn’t communicate with. The second story is the main one, and this is where is gets odd. The scarlet woman this depressing man is having an affair with happens to be the social worker for a family that happen to live next door to the sister of the depressing man.

The family is a mother and daughter, the mother is getting on a bit, and used to work as a medium, but has stopped now, because she can’t get rid of the spirits and they’re all over the house and they’re causing trouble in a subtle but sinister way. She has a grown up mentally disabled daughter.

We’re told the story from the depressing man’s point of view, the scarlet woman’s and the mother’s, but we don’t quite hear what the daughter is thinking. We get a bit of story from her point of view but her thoughts aren’t quite clear, and it’s cleverly done. The character doesn’t speak so I expect that’s quite what it would be like to live with her – you’re never quite sure what she’s thinking.

It’s a short novel and not much happens, I was left wondering what it was about once I’d finished it. I still like Mantel’s style and will be trying at least one more of her others but it just doesn’t have the “wow factor” of Thomas Cromwell.

 

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