They mess you up, your mum and dad. So said the poet Philip Larkin, and Tóibín must agree. In this lively exploration of writers and their families, the Irish novelist argues that Yeats and Beckett had to imagine the symbolic deaths of their domineering parents before they could write about their homeland. Elsewhere in New Ways To Kill Your Mother, he takes on closeted gay dads (Cheever) and absent mothers (Austen) with great biographical anecdotes. There’s more storytelling than analysis, but the gossip is fascinating. Let’s just say Thomas Mann’s family is one that both Freud and V.C. Andrews would’ve loved. B+
MAMA DRAMA This anecdote-filled book proves that hating your parents is a universal grievance, after all W.B. Yeats and Jane Austen wished their parents dead
Genre: Nonfiction; Author: Colm Toibin; Publisher: Scribner
Posted January 17 2015 — 5:04 PM EST
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