Mother Can You Hear Me?

by Margaret Forster

Saturday, December 8, 2007

This book had numerous similarities with the last of Forster’s books that I read Have The Men Had Enough? - beyond the fact that both titles end in question marks, they both deal with looking after the aging and with three generations of women. Written in 1979, this is the earlier of the two books and although it’s quite harrowing in its own way it’s a gentler version of the book Forster would write ten years later.

The narrative stays with thirty something Angela all the way through this book, she’s a mother of four who teaches English part time in some leafy London suburb while her mother is suffering various illnesses in Cornwall. The key relationships in the story are those between Angela and her mother, and Angela and her eldest daughter Sadie. I could sympathise with everyone on every side, but did find aspects of the Sadie/Angela relationship to date the book a bit. Angela has brought up an independent teenager, never wanting to copy the strained mother-daughter relationship that she had, but I felt like I was supposed to think Sadie was some kind of monster whereas I actually thought she was a pretty standard teenager who would probably turn out just fine.

Another good book, Forster is fast becoming one of my favourite authors.