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Violaine Huisman Books In Order

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Publication Order of Standalone Novels

The Book of Mother (2018)Description / Buy at Amazon

Violaine Huisman is a literary fiction author from New York best known for her debut novel “The Book of Mother.”

The author was born and has worked in New York City for more than two decades. For much of this time in the city, she used to run the Brooklyn Academy of Music literary series. She was also the founder and organizer of several multidisciplinary arts festivals in New York City.

Her debut novel “The Book of Mother” was originally published as “Fugitive parce que reine” by Gallimard. The book went on to win several literary awards including the Prix Marie Claire and the Prix Francoise Saga.

When it was first published in 2018, the French literary community classified it as technically literary fiction, even as it read like autobiographical fiction, memoir and autofiction.

Violaine agrees with the many descriptions of his work and admitted to Leslie Camhi, his translator, that he gets a lot of inspiration from Serge Dubrovsy. This is an author that originally coined the term autofiction and hence it is no wonder that he is so influential in Huisman’s work.

Unlike many of her contemporaries, Violaine Huisman does not have particularly vivid reading memories. Her parents were the type that would not read to her even though both her father and mother were particularly good storytellers.

Her mother used to come up with all manner of bedtime stories for Violaine and her siblings. These were intricate and elaborate tales that sometimes lasted for days. However the best talent her parents had was soliloquy as they never needed any clues to keep going.

Some of her earliest memories are about the droning voice as her parents went on monologues that sometimes lasted hours. She remembers discovering books and reading, and found them a welcome voice that told stories unprompted.

Violaine was inspired by several French authors even though Marcel Prous has always been the biggest influence. She likes how Prous describes the vagaries of the heart and mysteries of the mind in his writings that encapsulate time.

When she was in her teenage years, Huisman was a huge fan of Marguerite Duras for her bare and raw sentences that were a welcome contrast to the ornate style of Proust. The sense of possibility that pervaded her work made her want to become an author and believe she could just make it.

In recent years, Violane has been inspired by the works of American poet and novelist Ben Lerner.

Violaine Huisman was first inspired to pen her debut novel “The Book of Mother” when she was struggling with her mother’s ailing condition.

Telling the story of her real life mother, Huisman struggled to deal with her feral love, her violence and her mental illness. As an author, she intended to recompose the fluctuating and complex feelings that she could never let go of.

Through her writing, she intended to restore her mother’s place in a world in which she constantly felt out of place. Given that she had often desired to pen a work about her mother for the longest time, she knew she had to write it. But it was not until she herself became a mother that the novel was finally written and published.

Huisnman writes unapologetically on the conditional care and love for others that mothers have even when sometimes it becomes impossible to do so due to political or psychological reasons.

She asserts that mothers often fail just as many people over the centuries have pointed out. However, given the unattainable and inadequately high standards set for them, it is inevitable that they will sometimes fail catastrophically.

Through her works, Violaine explores the complexities of motherhood both as a mother and as a child. She makes use of the filial bond she had with her mother to showcase her thoughts and perspectives on motherhood.

When Violaine Huisman published her novel, she was very apprehensive about how it would be received in her French homeland. It went on to get a lot of prestigious prizes in literary fiction.

However,there was a huge discussion on what genre between fiction and memoir it belonged in. An important thing to note is that there is an established tradition of autofiction in the country.

In fact, the word autofiction was invented by a French author though the matter of who invented the genre is a matter of debate. Still the word was coined by Serge Dubrovsky, even though the form had been alive and well in France before then.

The likes of Montaigne had been writing in the genre for years even though he is for the most part deemed an essayist. As such, the notion of the autobiographical novels written by Violaine is very old.

Still, it has to be acknowledged that developments in technology mean that the genre is now influenced by modern iterations. Many stories now incorporate Instagram, video art, photography and can be found on the Internet, where different facets of the self may be explored.

“The Book of Mother” by Violaine Huisman turned out to be a blockbuster when it was finally published in 2021. The remarkable novel tells the story of the inextinguishable love that a daughter has for her mercurial and magnetic mother.

Charismatic and beautiful Cathrine who has been nicknamed Maman is a chainsmoker, loves too extravagantly, laughs too hard and drives too fast. However, the two have a chaotic but joyful family life and she would not have it any other way.

Things take a bad turn when Cathryn is hospitalized after she breaks down following her third divorce, which changes everything.

Violaine and her baby sister wait for their mother’s return, only to experience her flagrant disregard for boundaries and mood swings immediately when she comes back. This makes for an emotional rollercoaster as Catherine tells of her traumatic upbringing as both a child and adolescent.

The stories come together to make for an irresistible mother despite the fact that she can be transgressive yet triumphant in how she brings up her children. With stunning emotional bravery, a streak of dark humor and ferocious language it makes for a great story of a mother’s love for her daughter despite the circumstances.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Violaine Huisman

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