Before even getting into the literary wonderfulness of Gina Sorell’s debut novel, MOTHERS AND OTHER STRANGERS (ProspectParkBooks), let me point out what an absolutely beautiful cover the Prospect Park Books design team has created. And secondly, with the following opening line of Gina’s novel, there’s no way any reader is not going to want to read this book.
“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.” MOTHERS and OTHER STRANGERS
Gina Sorell’s, debut novel, MOTHERS AND OTHER STRANGERS (ProspectParkBooks) digs deep into the emotional ties between mothers and daughters. It examines how betrayal and manipulation can affect love and control. It also explores how the dysfunction of our childhood can affect our lives as adults.
At 39 years-old, Elsie is ending a relationship, when she’s informed her mother, Rachel has died from cancer.
“We had been estranged for years, and still I hadn’t stopped yearning for the relationship we never had. There would be no deathbed reconciliation like in the movies for us. It’s hard to reconcile with a stranger.”
Elsie knew, “what it felt like to be incomplete, to long for something and someone you hardly knew, and yet were wise enough to know that its absence defined you.”
She returns to her mother’s home expecting to close her affairs and hopefully learn something about the woman she never knew, only to find the place ransacked. Elsie realizes she’s not the only one looking for answers. She discovers Rachel has been lying her entire life, but none-the-less, Elsie holds out hope to find some kind of connection. A neighbor drops off a box filled with Rachel’s belongs, including photographs, which only add more questions.
Gina Sorell explains why she called the novel, MOTHERS AND OTHER STRANGERS. “Rachel really is a stranger to her daughter Elise. And because at some point like all of our mothers, she was a woman living in a world that didn’t include us, with people we never met, and hopes and dreams we never knew. She was someone, other than our mother.”
It’s hard to imagine a more painful experience than being abandoned by one’s own mother. It’s Elsie’s pursuit for her own identify, that ultimately defines who she is. The past with its secrets and hurts is over, but she has to create her future.
MOTHERS AND OTHER STRANGERS is not an easy read. It is layered, complex and intimately deals with our most basic needs and fears as human beings. Sorell’s prose is lyrical and she creates characters you won’t soon forget. Anyone who has, or has had a thorny relationship with her mother may see part of herself in the narrative. It’s amazing what the human psyche will do to protect itself, when the truth is too painful.
Born in South Africa and raised in Canada, Gina Sorell now resides in Toronto, and lives in a world of words. Some of those words are: writer, namer, creative director, artist, daughter, sister, wife and mother.
To connect with Gina, check out her website http://www.ginasorell.com
Thanks to Prospect Park Books and Gina’s fabulous publicist, Kathleen, we have one copy of MOTHERS AND OTHER STRANGERS to giveaway. Just tell us the name of the last compelling family drama you read – one that kept you reading well into the night. We’ll announce a winner next week.