Carmen-Francesca Banciu Mother's Day - Song of the Sad Mother


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Inhaltsangabe zu „Mother's Day - Song of the Sad Mother“ von Carmen-Francesca Banciu

Maria-Maria had broken away from her domineering mother long before her physical death, or at least she thought she had. Neither mother’s cruel lashings nor her cutting criticism had prevented her from rejecting the values and ideals that her authoritarian and Communist party-line- towing parents held so dearly. To their crushing dismay, she would not deploy her artistic talents toward embodying the Ceaucescian model of the “new human.” Quite the contrary, she was going to revel in being imperfect, and embark on a journey of self-exploration in order to discover what it means to be a self that is not defined by being her mother’s daughter or a mother to her own daughter. Putting everything at stake to detach from the primal bond that both oppresses and eludes her, Maria-Maria opens herself up to, and achieves, the unexpected.

Banciu explores an uncompromising struggle for selfhood in a singular voice that is vulnerable and authentic, emotional, and unsparingly honest. Beyond a literary study of the complex dynamics that inextricably bind and repel mothers and daughters, Banciu’s "Mother’s Day - Song of a Sad Mother " is a courageous reflection on what it means to become and accept one’s self with all of the renunciations and rewards that this fraught journey entails. (Elena Mancini)

A powerful intertwining of the political and the personal to offer moving insight into life under authoritarian rule.

— SaraJones

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  • What it means to be a mother

    Mother's Day - Song of the Sad Mother


    04. July 2016 um 12:29

    This book combines the personal with the political in a powerful way. It is both a reflection on the inhumanity (and misogyny) of the communist system in Romania and on what it means to be a mother and a daughter. The narrative gaze runs over the body of the mother, pausing on each part, which in turn brings forth memories of the protagonist's childhood and her life with a mother who sought to embody the ideals of the communist system and to create in her daughter the 'New Human'. The mother's commitment does not allow joy and love, only fear and instilling fear - this is a life that the daughter rejects in her pursuit of imperfection, happiness and freedom. But pushing away one's mother is not an easy thing to do and the novel is also a reflection on what it means to lose a mother, to experience the death of someone to whom you are so closely connected, but who may have made life unbearable in your formative years. Are our mothers always in us? Are we always part of them? Some of the most powerful passages are the reflections on becoming a mother and how this changed the narrator's understanding of her own mother. She asks what the love of a mother is: 'Is it the continual state of the inner connection with a part of me that has detached itself from me. In order to become independent?' For me this renders perfectly the experience of feeling your child becoming evermore independent from you as they grow into individuals - something that mothers can both desire and fear. Zoe-Annamaria Hawkins's translation is not perfect; however, she manages to render Banciu's poetic voice beautifully and I hope that more of Banciu's work will be made available to an English-reading public. 

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