MotherKind: A Novel

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Knopf, 2000 - Fiction - 295 pages
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MotherKind explores the spiritual education at the heart of the most fundamental transition: the child who grows to nurture his or her parent. Kate, whose care for her terminally ill mother coincides with the birth of her first child and the early months of a young marriage, must come to terms with crucial loss and radiant beginnings in the same deftly chronicled year.

MotherKind invites the reader into a layering of experience that is nearly limitless, yet wholly ordinary and familiar. First and second marriages, babies and step-children, neighbors, friends, blended families, baby sitters and wise strangers all intermingle in the tumult of an everyday marked by a turning of seasons and the gradual vanishing of Kate's mother, the strong woman who has been her friend, mentor and counterpart across a divide of experience and time.

MotherKind describes a very contemporary situation yet deals with timeless themes. What is the nature of "home", when so many of us live our lives far from where we started? How do we translate all we have passed from into what we carry forward? How are we inextricably linked, even in separation, across generations, cultures, eras; across death itself. In MotherKind, the everyday is illumined with the past as Kate finds her former and present lives joined into one luminous passage.

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MotherKind: a novel

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In this latest from Phillips (Black Tickets), Kate finds that she's part of the "sandwich generation"Dshe is caring for both her terminally ill mother, Katherine, and her newborn son, Alexander. Matt ... Read full review


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About the author (2000)

Jayne Anne Phillips is the author of two novels, Shelter (1994) and Machine Dreams (1984), and two collections of widely anthologized stories, Fast Lanes (1987) and Black Tickets (1979). She is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, two National Endowment for the Arts fellowships and a Bunting Fellowship. She has been awarded the Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction (1980) and an Academy Award in Literature (1997) by the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Her work has appeared most recently in Granta, DoubleTake and The Norton Anthology of Contemporary Fiction. She is currently Writer in Residence at Brandeis University.

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