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In a Country of Mothers (Vintage Contemporaries)by A. M. Homes
Synopses & Reviews
In the conflicted, unnerving world of possibilities fostered by A. M. Homes's powerful imagination, two women of tremendous magnetism discover a tie that binds them — the intimacy that exists between therapist and patient — until it threatens to undo them both. And as their relationship begins to extend beyond the allotted "fifty-minute hour," what has started out as simple counsel and friendship develops into excess of the most moving, and frightening, kind.
For Claire Roth, a capable, established psychotherapist with an adoring husband and children no more alienated than normal, her new patient Jody Goodman — a witty and attractive young filmmaker — is a welcome diversion from a routine at once comfortable and predictable. Jody, successful yet uncertain about living apart from her adoptive parents for the first time, is disarmed by Claire's interest and approval. Gradually, for these two — exactly the right ages to be mother and daughter — the lines between friendship and family, between love and compulsion, begin to lose their focus. Every strong motivation they share — a belief in family, a desire to shape their own destinies and, possibly, to contend with a distant and suppressed past — could also unbalance them...especially when one of them starts to believe fanatically that some things simply cannot be coincidences, and that what they share, in fact, is the deepest bond of all.
In a Country of Mothers is a transfixing literary and psychological thriller that questions such bedrock assumptions as the confidence we place in family, in healers, in all those we know, care about, and trust with our secrets. In its alarming climactic moments, all the more terrifying for the familiarity of their setting, A. M. Homes forces us to confront our own judgments about sanity, danger, and desire.
"Homes enlarges her scope with exhilarating assurance, paying equal attention to people young and mature as they pass from what they once were to whoever they must finally be." Publishers Weekly
"Homes...has the ability to scare you half to death....[She is] devastating...a very dangerous writer." Washington Post Book World
"A commanding narrative...by turns witty and unnerving, and at times almost unbearable in its emotional intensity." Wall Street Journal
"Intriguing...captures a world spinning out of control....Homes is at her best evoking the pathos and obsession at the center of relationships between therapist and patient, mother and child, husband and wife. She is also wickedly funny. [This is] a psychologically gripping story." San Francisco Chronicle
No relationship is more charged than that between a psychotherapist and her patient—unless it is the relationship between a mother and her daughter. This disturbing literary thriller explores what happens when the line between those relationships blurs.
Jody Goodman enters psychotherapy with questions of career and love on her mind. But Claire Roth, her therapist, keeps changing the focus of their sessions to Jody's parentage—Jody was adopted; Claire gave up a baby for adoption who would now be exactly Jody's age. As the two women become increasingly involved, speculation turns into certainty, fantasy into fixation. Until suddenly it is no longer clear just which of them needs the other more—or with more terrifying consequences.
About the Author
A. M. Homes is the author of numerous novels and short-story collections. Her many awards include Guggenheim and NEA fellowships. She is a contributing editor at Vanity Fair and has written for The New Yorker, Harper's, McSweeney's, and The New York Times.
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