Ian Critchley

Mommy Issues

Mother Land


Hamish Hamilton 509pp £20 order from our bookshop

It is fifty years since the publication of Paul Theroux’s first novel, Waldo. Astonishingly prolific, he has published thirty further novels, plus almost twenty works of non-fiction, including a volume of criticism on V S Naipaul. Now aged seventy-six, he shows no signs of slowing down. At over 500 pages, his latest novel is a hefty family comedy-drama, which, he has said, is as close to an autobiography as he is ever likely to write.

Narrator Jay Justus – like Theroux, a novelist and travel writer – returns to the family home in Cape Cod following the death of his father. Waiting for him are his six siblings and his mother. Manipulative and vengeful, Mother rules over her children, demanding their love and loyalty, and setting them against each other in order to be the centre of attention and so maintain her power.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • Something of an 'eccentric billionaire’s hobby': reviews 'The Space Barons: Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and… ,
    • "At the age of fifteen, drunk on stolen Chardonnay or stoned on pot at a swimming party, the thoughts that come imm… ,
    • For the latest Bookends, here's Alan Taylor musing on his stint as an assistant librarian. ,
    • A ‘pretentious ass and impotent arriviste’ who surrounded himself with ‘degenerates, hooligans, childish layabouts,… ,
    • . reviews 'Aristotle’s Way: How Ancient Wisdom Can Change Your Life' by ,
    • "As Beevor shows, it was one of the most daring, dangerous and fiercely fought operations of the whole war. It was… ,
    • "The characters are very rich and very male, with astronomical ambitions. The potted biographies in this book sugge… ,