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In a Country of Mothers Paperback – 5 Jun 2006

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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Granta Books; New edition edition (5 Jun. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1862078882
  • ISBN-13: 978-1862078888
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 19.6 x 1.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 808,727 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"* 'Very few writers push the envelope with such style and confidence' Mark Haddon * 'Irresistibly pulls the reader into a vortex of damaged faith. Fiercely witty, frenetically paced, and seriously engaged with significant issues' Maddison Smartt Bell * 'Homes couldn't be more deliciously named: she kicks over the doll's house and gives suburbanity a good shake' Guardian * 'The imagination that shapes A.M Homes's fiction is exhilaratingly perverse' New York Times Book Review"

About the Author

AM Homes is the author of several novels -, The End of Alice, Music for Torching, and Jack - and two collections of short stories, The Safety of Objects and the recent highly acclaimed Things You Should Know all published by Granta. She is a contributing editor to Vanity Fair and teaches in the writing programme at Columbia University. She lives in New York City. Her latest novel, This Book Will Save Your Life is published by Granta this month.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Lucinda Stern on 7 Feb. 2011
Format: Paperback
I loved Music for Torching and was fascinated to find out that Homes had written a whole novel about Claire Roth, a psychotherapist, who has a walk on bit in it. As a therapist In a Country of Mothers is interesting as it looks at boundaries, fantasy and reality within, and in this case, outside of the therapy room. It is a story in which the therapist's counter transference toward her client starts to become reality and therefore be acted out. The therapist, who starts out as the reliable character becomes less reliable, and at times quite deranged. Like Homes' other novels the madness of the suburban characters is beneath the surface and behind closed doors, seen by the reader, but not always by the other characters. We know of Claire's increasing obsession with her patient/long lost daughter Jody, as does Jody, but Claire's family, and certainly her other patients remain unaware. Parts of the book were over-dramatic for me. As a therapist I found myself rather horrified at Claire, but also fascinated by her situation.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Sue Kichenside TOP 500 REVIEWER on 15 July 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
24-year old Jody jeopardises a promising career because of her obsession with the fact that she is adopted. Her new therapist, Claire, has never recovered from giving up her baby daughter in an illicit adoption and becomes obsessed with the idea that Jody is her daughter. As a highly experienced professional, Claire is well aware of the importance of maintaining boundaries in the therapeutic relationship but when it comes to Jody, she persists in crossing them. What could possibly go wrong?

As a huge A M Homes fan, I found it interesting to come to this book after reading her prize-winning May We Be Forgiven. In a Country of Mothers was first published in 1993 and this early novel betrays some related shortcomings as well as revealing signs of the great writer she has since become; no doubt it also reflects the author's issues with her own adoption. As other reviewers have remarked, this book makes for a discomforting read and, ultimately, an unsatisfying one. It would be fascinating to see what Homes would do with this novel if she was writing it all over again today.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Fiona Nagle on 23 May 2007
Format: Paperback
I felt a bit disappointed after reading 'This book will save our life'. 'In a country of mothers' is a worthwhile read, but overall it is not as gripping as previous books I have read by this author. An average read.

I would however definitely recommend 'This book will save your life' by the same author as a throroughly enjoyable read.
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By reader 451 TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 5 Mar. 2015
Format: Paperback
Jody has just begun on a job in cinema and left home. Ever conscious that she was an adopted child, however, she has adjustment problems and, after moving to New York, she visits a therapist. As it turns out, her new shrink Claire abandoned a little girl of hers, through an illegal adoption process, years before as a teenager. Claire now has a family: a husband and two boys, but she starts to obsess over Jody, convinced she is her lost daughter. And as Jody, unaware of Claire's secret, gets drawn ever more tightly into her therapist's private circle, things start to become distinctly unhealthy. A.M Homes begins well from this interesting premise, but her novel tends to become drawn out as the plot progresses. The characterisation is reasonably good, moreover, but Jody's dependence on Claire could have been better substantiated. Indeed, in its last pages, the book tends to fail on the show-don't-tell criteria, and to lack conviction. The result is that the ending, otherwise clever, falls somewhat flat. In a Country of Mothers, from an intriguing exploration of mother-daughter relationships in modern America, ends up flailing and flagging somewhat, making the novel's second half unworthy of the first.
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By Dunfermline woman on 11 Nov. 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Perhaps this is more believable if you're American and live in a world where regular therapy is normal but I found this very unbelievable. I wasn't sure why Jody needed therapy in the first place, she just sounded as though she needed a friend to chat to. Claire as a therapist was totally unbelievable, she had minimal self awareness and was totally self centred, especially where her family were concerned.
I found it hard to really care what happened to either of them.
Jeanette Winterson recommended her writing and I love most of her books so I'll give another book a go but this one started well then got silly. Maybe I should avoid books with the term "psychological thriller" in the bumf as it usually means "people going a bit nuts but without the action and interest of a real thriller".
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Format: Paperback
Interesting theme of therapist neediness against patient's, and the intensity of that initial connection representing something ultimately unhelpful and obscuring for both. This book may represent some of the author's own struggles, as The Mistress Daughter is about the author's own adoption. Overall, I found the story raced through fascinating subjects as it did with 'this book could save your life'. But at some points it was disjointed and I felt it didn't resolve some conflicts sufficiently for me. However I liked the premise of the flawed therapist and impact of her needs and I enjoyed Homes' humour in her writing too.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Eileen Shaw TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 5 Oct. 2009
Format: Paperback
Jody is a bright, articulate, talented young film-maker and as the novel opens she is working for a film producer helping a much revered but rather repulsive director on his latest opus. She wants to be a director herself and has signed up for film school at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). She was adopted and her relationship with her adoptee mother is very needy. She is, in common with many middle class Americans, in therapy - with a new therapist, Claire. Claire is married with two children and is obsessed by the daughter she put up for adoption when she was a teenager. The book centres on Jody and Claire's relationship which gradually becomes more and more combative, not to say sinister.

This novel made me wonder what it is that American women really want from their lives. The two women in the novel have versions of what might be termed `everything', but there are so many aspects of their lives that they seem compelled to reinforce with negativity - Claire has two beautiful children, but the eldest isn't achieving at school and Claire blames herself; Jody is accepted into film school but it means a dreaded journey (she is afraid of flying - get a Greyhound bus for god's sake!). Insecurities abound for these women yet they have money, houses, great social lives, people who love them (Claire's husband is a paragon, considerate, sexy, loving, great with the kids - perfection - come on Claire, wake up!).

When Claire begins to imagine that she is Jody's real mother and evidence to the contrary is ignored, we begin to feel distinctly uneasy about her future.

Homes has created a mixture made up of a relationship novel and a psychological thriller with this highly original book.
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