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Every Day is Mother's Day Hardcover – January 1, 1900


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 230 pages
  • Publisher: Chatto & Windus (January 1, 1900)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 070112895X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0701128951
  • Shipping Weight: 15.7 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,078,183 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This remarkable first novel takes us into a slatternly house, filled with demons and ghosts, where the clairvoyant Evelyn Axon and Muriel, her pregnant half-wit daughter, cower out of sight of society. Moving seamlessly to a cottage in another part of London, it introduces Colin Sidney, father of three stupefyingly unappealing children, tries to escape the disappointments of marriage via a hole-in-corner affair with Isabel Field, a young social worker assigned to surpervise Muriel. It turns out that Colin grew up in a house around the corner from the Axons, that his mother tried to speak to her dead husband through Mrs. Axon, and that his sister was sexually abused by the late Mr. Axon, who, once Muriel was born, refused to risk further congress with his wife. All these soiled reminders of times past lingernasty little spirits who upset the furniture, steal from the larder, even leave hortatory notes. Who fathered Muriel's baby? Her mother cannot guess, but a changeling it must be, and, like all changelings, it must be cast away. When Mrs. Axon is similarly cast away, Colin Sidney, in defiance of the portents, moves his family into her haunted house, leaving the thoroughly involved reader to imagine what lies in wait.
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

A rundown, and possibly haunted, Victorian house takes center stage in these back-to-back black comedies, written by British novelist Mantel (The Giant, O'Brien) with a distinct Rendellian flavor. In the first story, set in the mid-Seventies, Evelyn Axon, a terrorized, guilt-ridden widow, lives with her dull-witted daughter, Muriel. Into their lives comes the nettlesome social service bureaucracy, primarily in the person of Isabel Field, the last in a long series of social workers assigned to their case. Isabel has problems of her own, though, the main one being a stagnating affair with Colin Sydney, a married man she has met in an evening class on creative writing. Muriel has been encouraged to participate in weekly workshops for the mentally handicapped at the local community center, but she eludes both her mother and her case workers and manages to get herself pregnant. All these lives intersect at the novel's bizarre conclusion, as Evelyn dies, Muriel is institutionalized, and Colin Sydney's family take up residence in the Axons' house. The second novel opens ten years later as Muriel is caught up in the Eighties trend to deinstitutionalize the mentally challenged. Out on the streets once more, she knowingly adopts multiple personas with the misguided intention of exacting revenge on those she believes have wronged her, principally Isabel Field and Colin Sydney. Slowly, all these entangled lives begin to come undone. Like her fellow Brits Rose Tremain and Penelope Fitzgerald, Mantel continually produces novels that chart fresh terrain and derive from a wellspring of creative imagination. These two early novels herald the promise of the rich and varied literary career that followed. Recommended for most public libraries.
-Barbara Love, Kingston Frontenac P.L., Ont.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Hilary Mantel is the author of nine previous novels, including A Change of Climate, A Place of Greater Safety, and Eight Months on Ghazzah Street. She has also written a memoir, Giving Up the Ghost. Winner of the Hawthornden Prize, she reviews for The New York Times, The New York Review of Books, and the London Review of Books. She lives in England.

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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A nice way to spend a few hours.
Al Swanson
Hilary does it again, showing her versatility, deft handling of characters and crisp dialogue, dynamite plot and plenty of goosebumps along the way.
Mary from Oklahoma
Hilary Mantel is an exceptional writer and this book almost defies description.
C. B Collins Jr.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Maria-Therese Vasquez on November 13, 2001
Format: Paperback
Don't be misled by the title: Every Day Is Mother's Day isn't an Erma Bombek type look at motherhood or a feminist polemic--it's the best "ghost story" I've ever read. It's sad, funny, macabre, and disturbing. I've read only one other book (Fludd) by this author so far, but she's already near the top of my list of favorite writers--maybe she'll be on yours, too.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By C. B Collins Jr. on November 6, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Hilary Mantel is an exceptional writer and this book almost defies description. It is the story of Evelyn Axon who is a spiritualist who will bring back the spirits of the dead to speak to the living. Unfortunately, these spirits don't want to leave her house once they have been called and thus the house is virtually full of sly manipulative evil ghosts. Yet, it is Mantel's great strength that we are never sure if there are ghosts in the house or whether Evelyn Axon has completely lost her mind. Her half-witted daughter, Muriel, lives in the house also and requires the supervision of a social work agency. Muriel becomes pregnant while in a day school for the mentally retarded and once again we are unsure if the staff or other students may have gotten her pregnant or whether the evil spirits lingering in the upstairs bedrooms may have impregnated her. Muriel's social worker is a plain woman with limited expectations, Isabel Field, who is having an affair with a middle-aged loser of a fellow, Colin Sidney. The story gets very complicated from this point onward but the strength of the book is not how pathetic many of the characters are but rather the outstanding language and black humor that Mantel uses to paint these characters in these awkward situations. Her view of mankind as expressed in the book is bleakly realistic about the limitations and foolishness of the human experience. As I read about these pitiful characters struggling for a tiny bit of joy in their limited lives, I found myself laughing out loud rather than crying due to Mantel's exceptional literary skills. Is this existentialism disguised as a black humor horror story? Probably so. However it is Mantel's gift that you don't see her fingerprints as she hides the philosophical under the humor and horror.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 20, 1999
Format: Hardcover
People who have enjoyed Mantel's more gentle, humane novels like Experiment in Love or Change Of Climate might be surprised by the black comedy of this one. But I became weirdly fascinated in the characters, the occasionally chilling plot, the astringent prose and the biting humor from the outset. Immediately after I finished this book, I plunged into its sequel, Vacant Posession. But I don't recommend reading them when you're home alone at night. Mantel's decription of madness is so convincing, I briefly feared for my own sanity for a minute or two while reading it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Luan Gaines HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 31, 2010
Format: Paperback
Mantel's unusual tale is intriguing, a contrast between the seemingly normal lives of neighbors on a quiet street, most unaware that an odd mother and daughter exist in quite another world, one where spirits inhabit the rooms as well as the residents. In 1970ss England, Evelyn Axon and her mentally-challenged daughter, Muriel, are an unusual pair. A medium, the widowed Evelyn is haunted by the spirits she calls upon for clients, her rambling, decaying house filled with the uninvited. The sly, observant Muriel, no longer a child, takes great pains to outwit Evelyn, who berates her daughter cruelly and often. Not surprising that the ungainly, uncommunicative Muriel is the predictable product of her bizarre environment. The hammering of various social welfare workers is met with silence from within, the Axon's recoiling from unwanted intrusion.

Isabel Field, the current social worker assigned the Axon's, is troubled by her inability to help this pair, judging her own efforts inadequate. But Isabel gets distracted by a short affair with married schoolteacher Colin Sidney, whose unhappy wife, Sylvia, can barely control the three children who fill her days with chaos, let alone track the movements of a boring husband. In a vague connection, Colin's unmarried sister, Florence, lives next door to Evelyn and Muriel, her tentative overtures of friendship quickly rebuffed. Coping with the disappointments of an unhappy marriage and the scant rewards of an illicit relationship, Isabel and the Sidney provide the face of everyday life as most of us experience it, Muriel and Evelyn the unpredictable, both victims and conspirators in a bureaucratic social network meant to help those in need.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Verita VINE VOICE on June 14, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Nobody is spared here. I loved the characters. It's not exactly uplifting, but it is comical if you appreciate black humor.
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By JMB on October 17, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Les Petites Meurtres d'Agatha Christie, Set 1, a French TV series still in production, adapts the very English original stories and gives them a decidedly charming French twist. While the original basic story lines are recognizable, the talented writers, creative team and actors have adapted the old, familiar stories and substitute fresh, entertaining and essentially French charactets, plot elements and sensibilities. Anyone expecting the Gallic version of Joan Hickson and David Suchet will be (and deserve to be) disappointed. These stories are as enjoyable glass of excellent champagne. The scripts and performances are charming, funny, touching, a bit irreverent and a touch world-weary and cynical. The production values and look of the pieces, impeccable. What else would you expect from the French?
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