The Mother Knot: A Memoir

Front Cover
Random House Publishing Group, Mar 12, 2009 - Biography & Autobiography - 96 pages
In this dark gem of a book by the author of The Kiss, a complex mother-daughter relationship precipitates a journey through depression to greater understanding, acceptance, freedom, and love,.

Spare and unflinching, The Mother Knot is Kathryn Harrison’s courageous exploration of her painful feelings about her mother, and of her depression and recovery. Writer, wife, mother of three, Kathryn Harrison finds herself, at age forty-one, wrestling with a black, untamable force that seems to have the power to undermine her sanity and her safety, a darkness that is tied to her relationship with her own mother, dead for many years but no less a haunting presence. Shaken by a family emergency that reveals the fragility of her current happiness, Harrison falls prey to despair and anxiety she believed she’d overcome long before. A relapse of anorexia becomes the tangible reminder of a youth spent trying to achieve the perfection she had hoped would win her mother’s love, and forces her to confront, understand, and ultimately cast out—in startling physical form—the demons within herself. Powerful, insightful, unforgettable, by “a writer of extraordinary gifts” (Tobias Wolff), Kathryn Harrison’s The Mother Knot is a knockout.

What people are saying - Write a review


User Review  - Kirkus

The time has come to let her mother go, realizes novelist Harrison (The Seal Wife, 2002, etc.), who here delineates, in very short form, her wrenching journey to that emotional, stabbing moment.After ... Read full review

The Mother Knot : A Memoir

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Author of the acclaimed Seeking Rapture, Harrison returns with a slight but immensely poignant memoir about her journey from sadness to joy. More specifically, it's about the various meaning the word ... Read full review

Selected pages


Section 1
Section 2
Section 3
Section 4
Section 5
Section 6
Section 7
Section 8
Section 9

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2009)

KATHRYN HARRISON is the author of the novels The Seal Wife, The Binding Chair, Poison, Exposure, and Thicker Than Water. She has also written a memoir, The Kiss, a travel memoir, The Road to Santiago, a biography, Saint Therese of Lisiuex, and a collection of essays, Seeking Rapture. She lives in New York with her husband, the novelist Colin Harrison, and their children.

Bibliographic information