l-‘AMll Y DRAMA LOUISE VOSS Are you my Mother? (Bantam MODEL



are you my mothch

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Srrtce the (ieath of her arloptrxe parerits. t-h‘rrta has takeh r-2s;;',risri)rirt', for her ‘,()t..’t(l(}l' srster's lrfe. Pacer: ‘.'.':ti‘ her long terrr‘. partner ieazrhg artri her sister's suhseguerit successes rh irie. Frr‘rr‘a (lecrdes to err‘hark or‘. a heartfelt rri f;(>lt‘:(}‘.‘.’li£il length,» search for her hrr'th rr‘cther,

\fv'hrle no one hook can fully (i()(;;ll‘.‘,(:.".l the adoptroh experience. Vcss struggles tc engage .'.'it."r the range of fee'rrtgs :li‘l)l.f;rl rrr sucl: a serrsrtrtc therrte v/rthoal tallr'ig 'xrctrrr‘ to clrche arrri over- SUMIHHHliétlll‘,‘. A reasorralfl; '.'.'(>rtli‘, out ultrrr‘atei‘, rl'sapporvttrhg reatl. rArrha l/lrliar-

l/lOlJl RN SAH’J SCARLETT THOMAS Going Out loarth [state SHUT). O.

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lAMll Y [MAMA TIM PEARS Wake Up rF3l()()rrts;l>rrr’\.' $10.93)) 0...

‘liarly ;\"inctccntlgékntury l-‘rancc ,lmcl [Sal/,3},

m we have "Hm l’curs’ The Times

Not a cosy domestic story

Tim Pears‘ fourth novel gleefully and repeatedly confounds expectations. Opening with a blurrin remembered portrait of a middle—aged man’s working class childhood, we become lured into believing ourselves about to embark on a cosy, family saga.

Early on, John, the protagonist, is exposed as a control freak and hypochondriac, the kind of man who, in the course of a day, would assume himself to be suffering from every high profile disease from E-Coli to new variant CJD to foot~and-mouth. Though outwardly unremarkable, as viewed from the hero’s corporeal and paranoid perspective, John’s world is made weird, alien and animalistic.

The novel is John’s dispassionate account of his relationships with his family and his career as an entrepreneur in the potato processing industry. Pears’ theme is the ways in which we attempt to create our environment in our own image, embodied in John’s disastrous experiments with genetically modified food and, the ultimate conceit, his ‘re-branding’ of his infant son Jake as ‘John Junior’.

At times, the novel does become somewhat schematic, with seemingly every millennial hot topic GM, globalisation, corporate sponsorship of state schools - becoming a source of debate between the deeply pragmatic John and his rather wishy-washy liberal wife, Lily.

Yet, John’s rambling, ruminative, entirely unreliable narration is made compelling by the fact that his story is constantly surprising. Thoughts, reminiscences and revelations are chucked in as they occur, some trivial, others such as the moment when John casually admits to an ongoing incestuous relationship with his sister or an allergy to his own son shocking and disarming. (Allan Radcliffe) urinarllrrrgtogotosach liegohrillrttrcxlt to capiixe.‘ errrpathrse. those ‘.'.t‘(> ilt.(7tit‘f(};l


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ft : .‘ f THE LIST 39