A Mother's Book of Hours
The heartbreaking chronicle of an illness, written by a son graced with enormous literary talent.
My mother, a house that is slowly collapsing, a bridge dancing to a tremor.' It started when she could no longer remember the word for 'book'. Then her mind, her language and her identity began to slip away. This is Erwin Mortier's moving, exquisitely observed memoir of his mother's descent into dementia, as a once-flamboyant woman who loved life and pleasure becomes a shuffling, ghostlike figure wandering through the house. Piecing together the fragments of her lost life, and his own childhood, Mortier asks: what do we become when we lose the repertoire of habits and words that make us who we are? How well do we really know our families? How do you say goodbye to someone who is still there and yet not, suspended between life and death? Stammered Songbook is a heartbreaking and poetic expression of a son's love; an extraordinary hymn to language; a meditation on time, mortality and how, eventually, we all unravel into memories.
Translated by Paul Vincent
Cover illustration by Clare Skeats
Published 12 March 2015