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Seven Stories Press

Works of Radical Imagination

Mother Reader

Essential Writings on Motherhood

by Moyra Davey

Book cover for Mother Reader
Book cover for Mother ReaderBook cover for Mother ReaderBook cover for Mother Reader

Edited by Moyra Davey

The intersection of motherhood and creative life is explored in these writings on mothering that turn the spotlight from the child to the mother herself. Here, in memoirs, testimonials, diaries, essays, and fiction, mothers describe first-hand the changes brought to their lives by pregnancy, childbirth, and mothering.

Many of the writers articulate difficult and socially unsanctioned maternal anger and ambivalence. In Mother Reader, motherhood is scrutinized for all its painful and illuminating subtleties, and addressed with unconventional wisdom and candor. What emerges is a sense of a community of writers speaking to and about each other out of a common experience, and a compilation of extraordinary literature never before assembled in a single volume.

Contributors include Margaret Atwood・Lydia Davis・Annie Ernaux・Mary Gaitskill・Susan Griffin・Nancy Huston・Jane Lazarre・Ursula K. LeGuin・Margaret Mead・Toni Morrison・Tillie Olsen・Alicia Ostriker・Grace Paley・Sylvia Plath・Adrienne Rich・Sara Ruddick・Mona Simpson・Susan Rubin Suleiman・Alice Walker・Joy William・And many more

Book cover for Mother Reader
Book cover for Mother ReaderBook cover for Mother ReaderBook cover for Mother Reader

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“Fine writers, fine writing, and a vital theme make this an essential book.”

“The classics are here—and wonderful new voices. The mother speaks!”

“Moyra Davey has assembled in Mother Reader a chorus of modern voices that explore with brutal honesty what childbearing does to women who are accustomed to a creative life. Thus Adrienne Rich describes 'the murderous alternation between bitter resentment and raw-edged nerves, and blissful gratification and tenderness' that having children provoked in her. And Mona Simpson writes of becoming a mother at age thirty-six, 'It is hard to sign up for the complete annihilation of life as you know it.' The book is a master class in the out-of-body, all too frequently out-of-your-mind experience that falls under the prosaic, and thus ludicrously misleading, heading of parenting.”

Moyra Davey

MOYRA DAVEY is the editor of Mother Reader: Essential Writings on Motherhood, and a photographer whose work has appeared in Harper's, Grand Street, Documents, and the New York Times. Davey has exhibited her work widely throughout the U.S. and Canada, and is represented by American Fine Arts Co. in New York. She lives in New York City.