Mother of Sorrows
By Richard Mccann
(Vintage, Paperback, 9781400096213, 208pp.)
Publication Date: June 6, 2006
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In these ten interwoven stories, two adolescent brothers face a world in which their father has suddenly died, a world dominated by their beautiful and complicated mother. Thirty years later, one of the brothers–the only remaining survivor of a family he seeks both to leave behind and to preserve in words forever–narrates these precise and heartbreaking tales. Suffused with the beauty of Richard McCann’s extraordinary language, Mother of Sorrows introduces us to an elegant writer like no other in contemporary fiction.
Richard McCann’s work has appeared in The Atlantic Monthly, Esquire, Tin House, and Ploughshares, and in many anthologies, including Best American Essays 2000. He is the author of Ghost Letters, a book of poems. He has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, and from the Fulbright and Rockefeller Foundations. He lives in Washington, D.C., where he co-directs the graduate program in creative writing at American University.
“Mother of Sorrows is almost unbearably beautiful. It is, purely and simply, the real thing — a work of fiction so intricately felt, so magnificently written, that it can stand unembarrassed beside the mystery of life itself.”–Michael Cunningham, author of The Hours
“Some of the cleanest, most elegant and unfussy prose I’ve read in ages. . . . [It] is, on one level, a gay coming-of-age narrative, and as such it ranks among the best. . . . But the ruling metaphors here are more universal: concealment and disclosure, assertion and invisibility.” –James Marcus, Los Angeles Times Book Review
“The voice in McCann’s Mother of Sorrows is purely his own — lyrical, melancholy, precise, refined.” –Newsday
“McCann holds such an exquisitely bright light over the landscape of 1950s suburban Maryland and the coming of age of his emotionally fragile, unnamed protagonist who appears in each interlocking story that the resulting book feels almost combustible. . . [His] prose is full of achingly sensual detail and imagery.” –The Washington Post Book World