(Counterpath Press, 2014)
Part essay, part meditation, part memoir, part poem, Rachel Zucker’s MOTHERs defies traditional expectations of what a book should do or can be. Zucker writes about her own mother and the various surrogate mothers she has had in her life in a way that is refreshingly honest, raw, and real.
In unflinching detail, Zucker captures her extraordinarily complex relationship with her mother, acclaimed storyteller Diane Wolkstein, in terms both moving and painful. The narrative unfolds through a series of memories, mis-memories, and fables Zucker wrote as a child, together producing an unforgettable rendering of motherhood and daughterhood.
Praise for MOTHERs:
“Rachel Zucker writes about an impossible subject with impressive clarity, lightness, accuracy, and beauty. This riveting book’s hugest accomplishment is to approach the experience of mothering—being a mother, having a mother—without sentimentality, and with a fearless, investigative candor. Zucker’s profound insights into relational complexities prove her to be the world’s most sharp-eyed archivist of messy feelings and spoiled situations.” —Wayne Koestenbaum
“MOTHERs is extremely uncomfortable in all the right ways and beautiful and painful—a brilliant weave of people and poems, a tangle of ambition, aspiration, care, and ambivalence. Zucker’s mapping of feeling and writing throughout is extraordinarily acute—remarkable.” —Maureen McLane
“MOTHERs is a howling storm of a book. In this desperately digressive essay, the poet Rachel Zucker narrates her complicated path to becoming and not becoming her mother, the storyteller Diane Wolkstein. Zucker turns her intelligent eye outward and inward, including everything she knows about mothers, stories, poems, and consequence itself. In mythic terms, the essay is about a poet who doesn’t want to turn into a storyteller. But as in all myths of avoidance, Zucker must eventually tell a terrifyingly inevitable story.” —Sarah Manguso