Ophelia Field

Secrets In The Attic

Mother, Missing

By

Fourth Estate 434pp £17.99 order from our bookshop

Oates’s latest novel takes place in the same town (Mt Ephraim, New York) as her best-selling We Were the Mulvaneys, and it opens with a Technicolor shot of that suburban idyll. It is Mother’s Day. Quickly, the comedy of American crassness and banality begins: men who talk about their jobs like infomercials and women who do ‘crafts’. The narrator, a hip young woman named Nikki Eaton, views this world of her parents’ generation with condescension and even, despite praise for her ‘terrific mom’, some contempt. 

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • Why did the 'bold and determined' Empress Matilda never manage to become Queen regnant? Peter Marshall reviews a n… ,
    • From the Archive: Martyn Bedford on Ian McEwan's 'Atonement' ,
    • In 'Silenced Voices' reports the ongoing story of the human rights lawyer, Nasrin Sotoudeh, who has been… ,
    • The mystery of Jack the Ripper's identity has long been agonised over. But what do we know about his victims?… ,
    • A piece of Literary Review history from way back in 1983: John Haffenden talks to the great Iris Murdoch. ,
    • Britain’s only travelling lit fest, the Garden Museum Literary Festival is heading to Houghton Hall, Norfolk, for a… ,
    • 'The 19th-century German sage is not my idea of a pleasant travel companion' goes hiking with Friedr… ,