Rose Lucas reviews 'The Mothers' by Rod Jones

Rose Lucas reviews 'The Mothers' by Rod Jones

The Mothers

by Rod Jones

Text Publishing, $29.99 pb, 334 pp, 9781922147226

Rod Jones’s new novel, The Mothers, works on a number of levels. It provides a social and familial history of life in Melbourne’s working-class suburbs throughout the twentieth century while also telling the often moving stories of individuals connected across generations, usually mothers and children, battling to survive in adverse circumstances.

The novel gives us a rich panoply of characters, places, and issues. The overall effect is rather like that of looking through a box of faded photographs, turning each one in the light, hearing something of their story, bringing lost faces and eras to life. Narrated throughout in a focalising, third-person voice, The Mothers moves between this kind of historical distancing and the light touches of the novelist, working with imagery and nuance to give us insight into these disparate lives.

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Rose Lucas

Rose Lucas

Rose Lucas is a Melbourne poet and academic. Her first collection, Even in the Dark (UWAP 2013) won the Mary Gilmore Award; her second collection was Unexpected Clearing (UWAP 2016. She is currently completing her third collection, This Shuttered Eye. She teaches in Graduate Research at Victoria University where she also supervises in creative writing and literary studies.

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