Cover image for The mothers
The mothers
Botsford, Keith, 1928-
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
[New Milford, CT] : Toby Press, [2002]

Physical Description:
279 pages ; 23 cm

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



"The Mothers is part of a complex series of autobiographical stories, of which "O Brother! (in "Out of Nowhere) was the first. "The Mothers are the women in Jim Mount's life: his adoring (and rejected) mother, Felicita (ironical name for her, "Happiness"), and the four women he loved and lived with: Louise, a sexually voracious painter; Maria, Mount's real beloved, a mini-skirted prole; Natasha, she of the prodigiously curly hair and deadpan attitude, a rich man's wife; and Francine, who is leaving as the novel begins, the ultimate cool, Cartesian, perfect woman, in whose arms Mount thought he'd die. Mount sees that when 'girls' become 'Mothers, ' something changes in them. Botsford's portraits are seething, often terrifyingly intense and mysogynistic. They are also deeply loving, life giving, and generous.

Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

The life of Jim Mount, a charismatic smalltown Midwestern lawyer, is recalled from the perspectives of his alternately aggrieved and bemused ex-wives and lovers in this provocative character study. In a fluid, bold narrative style, Botsford (Out of Nowhere) introduces Jim through the eyes of those who knew him best: Aissa, the narrator of the book, an old childhood friend who keeps him company as he ages; first wife Louise, a needy painter; Maria, the high-spirited young woman who rejuvenates him after his marriage to Louise ends in divorce; Natasha, the unlucky spouse of a boorish rich man, whose life briefly intersects with Jim's; and Francine, his last wife, who's about to leave him as the book opens. While Francine complains that Jim is absent even when he's present, she, like the rest of Jim's women, is fascinated by his remoteness, his need for girl-women who love him unconditionally and his theory of "Mothers"-his word for what the women in his life inevitably become. Full of provocative exchanges and one-liners, the book offers a powerful, brooding portrait of an unreachable and at times unlikable man (though he isn't given much chance to defend himself). When the book finally grinds to a halt amid the emotional wreckage of Jim's life, Botsford has explored most of the pitfalls of romantic relationships, while offering a fresh, sobering view of the masculine heart in love. Botsford is a longtime friend and associate of Saul Bellow, and readers will be forgiven if they suspect that Jim might be modeled on the much-married writer. The resulting portrait occasionally shades into stereotype, but is overall richly drawn and resonant. (Nov. 1) Forecast: Those curious about the Bellow connection will particularly enjoy this novel, but Botsford is an estimable writer in his own right, and The Mothers should be widely reviewed. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved