Share for friends:

Every Day Is Mother's Day (2000)

Every Day Is Mother's Day (2000)

Book Info

3.49 of 5 Votes: 5
Your rating
0805062726 (ISBN13: 9780805062724)
holt paperbacks

About book Every Day Is Mother's Day (2000)

And along came Muriel...‘Every day is Mother’s Day’ is the story of Evelyn and Muriel Axon, a mother and daughter who live a reclusive life in the house that Muriel was born. Evelyn has raised Muriel alone since the death of her husband, Clifford when Muriel was 6 years old, Clifford unfortunately saw Muriel as an ‘inconvenience’ and not having any more children because it would ‘risk repetition’. Evelyn, not in the best of health will not accept help and when social services come into their lives, Evelyn finds that Muriel is changing, something which scares Evelyn, Muriel attends a community day care centre and life becomes worse when Evelyn discovers that Muriel is in fact pregnant and is unable (or unwilling) to tell Evelyn who the father is, Evelyn decides to keep the baby a secret and lock Muriel in their house. Meanwhile, Isabel Field their latest social worker is having problems of her own, she is having an affair with a married man, Colin Sidney, his sister Florence is the Axons neighbour (unknown to Isabel) and she has also lost Muriel’s file. Colin, Isabel, Florence, Muriel and Evelyn finds themselves coming together and no one knows what the outcome will be.It’s hard to describe ‘Every Day is Mother’s Day’ without giving too much away, it is full of dark humour, Evelyn’s ideas are questionable, Muriel is manipulative, scary, not what she seems, Isabel and Colin, two very different people, I found it hard to believe why they would have an affair (which was the point), there is constant feeling of something about to happen, you find yourself becoming more and more suspicious of Muriel and despite Evelyn’s actions, you do feel sorry for her and in some ways, you feel sorry for Muriel. There is also the paranormal aspect, what exactly is in the spare room? And what does Evelyn see?The book also highlights how people can be missed, how sometimes the system does not work.The ending is left open, there is more to come from Muriel.

One of the saddest books I’ve read for a while – sad in the sense that all the characters are unhappy, frustrated, wasting their lives or otherwise screwed up. Colin is a history teacher, unhappily married to Silvia and with no interest in his three small children. He goes to evening classes to get out of the house, and at one of these he meets Isabel, a young social worker. The other main thread (the book leaps back and forth between the two, in a way that means you have to pay pretty close attention) concerns ‘backward’ Muriel, a young woman living alone with her widowed and embittered mother, former spiritualist Evelyn. Alone, that is, apart from the ghosts that seem to have invaded the house, perhaps during one of Evelyn’s seances. (Or are they there at all? Is it all Evelyn’s paranoia? Is it Muriel, not as stupid as she appears, playing tricks?) Evelyn tries her best to keep everyone away from the house, not least a succession of hapless social workers, the latest of whom is Isabel. The plot – Colin’s affair with Isabel, Muriel’s pregnancy (how did that happen?), Isabel’s losing of Muriel’s file and an unscrupulous colleague of Colin’s finding it – is less important than the atmosphere of misery and misunderstanding that pervades the book. The ambience is terrific, reminiscent of Graham Greene’s The End of the Affair but there was too much left unexplained for me, and it will be too gloomy for a lot of people.

Do You like book Every Day Is Mother's Day (2000)?

Mantel is, as they say, a witty writer and I keep turning page after page with interest. She's not above preposterous coincidence or straight-faced pun. (Mrs. Axon is something of a medium who reaches out like an axon to trasmit messages to the other side.) But you must understand that all the characters in this book are a joyless lot whose lives are so empty they cannot for the most part even find ways to struggle for something better. Colin struggles, ineptly, and fails. Murial struggles and succeeds with some horrifying consequences. Mantel is also able in a few deft pages to show us the worst middle class children I can remember reading about. Maybe its a black comedy as reviewers are wont to say, but the comedic elements are not in the tale but in little nooks and crannies, in some of the absurdities, and in the really good satire of a character who has little connection with the story. In spite of my occasional real laughter, both characters and story are depressing. Short of egregious generalizations to which some reviewers are given, its tale of northern English emptiness has little to say to readers who sometimes know love, fear, uncertainty or any of the other emotions. Unlike Experiment in Love, itself pretty grim, this novel does not make me want to think more about it. Yet maybe someday I'll read the sequel,Vacant Possession; after all, she is a great writer and keeps you entertained even if you feel depressed in the process.

I love reading prose like Ms Mantel's: brisk, precise and compelling. It's a relief to be able to read two of her books in succession after having slogged through weightier tomes, which is no slur on any of the writing involved nor, indeed, a comment on any of the stories conveyed. But the elegant readability of her language, the way it doesn't ever snag or get in the way of the story: it's like slipping into a comfortable robe at the end of the day. Refreshing and, like the work of Muriel Spark's that it's been compared to, exceedingly crisp.That said, I'd expected more of a horror element to this book, given the reviews. The ambiguity as to the "tenants" was interesting, as was the reason the police dug up the garden and, of course, the whole thing with Muriel and her condition. I enjoyed how Ms Mantel left so much to the reader's imagination, though I do wish she'd expanded more on Evelyn's trade. I didn't really find the book creepy, though. Grotesque, in that the characters do some really hideous things, but not at all scary. For that, I give the book 3 stars: it's very well-written, but it doesn't evoke the tension that a book like, say, Beryl Bainbridge's "The Dressmaker" might. It's a comfortable read, which pretty much defeats the purpose of the story.I also thought it misleading that the back cover blurb makes Colin sound like a peripheral character. I found him to be the moral, if flawed, center of the story, as most of it revolved around him and the near-absurdist situations he found himself in. This, for people who've been following my somewhat contentious discussion regarding The Marriage Artist, I thought a near-perfect example of a protagonist who isn't also the hero: again, a refreshing use of prose.I received this book gratis from Picador.

I love Hilary Mantel. Her writing has such precision. She misses nothing and finds exactly the right way to phrase her observations.Unfortunately, even her skill did not save Every Day is Mother’s Day. This was Mantel’s first book, the story of a mentally unfit daughter, her disturbed mother, the social worker assigned to their case, and the married man who sleeps with the social worker. There is an undercurrent of supernatural malevolence thrown in for good measure.The writing is not quite as polished as it is in Mantel’s later books, but it’s still very good. What I couldn’t handle was the unrelenting dreariness. The characters are all unhappy people living bleak, miserable lives, but they are all so horrible to each other, so mean and malicious, that it’s hard to feel much for any of them. On Wikipedia, they call it a “black comedy,” which really stretches the definition of comedy. (A Place of Greater Safety, Mantel’s novel about the French Revolution, is more cheery.) There are some highlights here, like a dinner party that really is amusing, where nothing escapes Mantel’s keen eye and sharp tongue, but aside from that, this book is weaker than her later novels.
—Sarah (Presto agitato)

download or read online

Read Online

Write Review

(Review will shown on site after approval)

Other books by author Hilary Mantel

Other books in category Poetry