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Mothers, Tell Your Daughters: Stories (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews

I don't think I can accurately describe how powerful this book was to me. The women who live in these pages are fictional characters, but they are oh so real. Mothers, daughters, aunts, sisters, young women, old women, soon to be dying women, these stories tell it all through the eyes of women who have born their burdens, braved their struggles, and come out alive, if barely. Tough women, strong women—not strong because they have control over their world, rather as life deals them inevitable abuse and violation, these women show their resilience by baring their scars.


— From Rebekah

October 2015 Indie Next List

“This collection is Campbell at her best and most audaciously appealing. At the center of each of these stories is a fierce, floundering, and unmistakably familiar woman. Mother of a daughter in some instances but always a caretaker, aware of and struggling with a hellish truth, or at justified peace with her right to impose her flawed self on a tragic other. These women's violations -- both endured and perpetrated -- are most certainly recognizable, and their stories are stunning. Booksellers, tell your customers. Friends, tell your people. Mothers, tell your daughters. Read this book!”
— Joanna Parzakoni (E), Bookbug, Kalamazoo, MI


"Bonnie Jo Campbell is a master of rural America’s postindustrial landscape." —Boston Globe

Named by the Guardian as one of our top ten writers of rural noir, Bonnie Jo Campbell is a keen observer of life and trouble in rural America, and her working-class protagonists can be at once vulnerable, wise, cruel, and funny. The strong but flawed women of Mothers, Tell Your Daughters must negotiate a sexually charged atmosphere as they love, honor, and betray one another against the backdrop of all the men in their world. Such richly fraught mother-daughter relationships can be lifelines, anchors, or they can sink a woman like a stone.

In "My Dog Roscoe," a new bride becomes obsessed with the notion that her dead ex-boyfriend has returned to her in the form of a mongrel. In "Blood Work, 1999," a phlebotomist's desire to give away everything to the needy awakens her own sensuality. In "Home to Die," an abused woman takes revenge on her bedridden husband. In these fearless and darkly funny tales about women and those they love, Campbell’s spirited American voice is at its most powerful.

About the Author

Bonnie Jo Campbell teaches in the low-residency MFA program at Pacific University. The author of Once Upon a River, American Salvage, and Mothers, Tell Your Daughters, she lives in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

Praise For…

Like the women in her stories, Campbell’s prose can be watchful and viscerally alive.

The book thrums with powerful young women.

With grit and reverence, this story collection is gorgeous in its honesty.

Mothers, Tell Your Daughters is filled with shifts…when a turn of fate, a moment in nature, brings surprises and revealing insights. And within the turmoil and the troubles, the demands and the limits of life, Campbell reminds us, there are possibilities for moments of grace.

What it comes down to, in Campbell’s world and in ours, is that to be female is to fight all kinds of trouble with all kinds of strength.

Campbell grounds us in such graphic grit, making these lives so bitterly, relentlessly real, we want to reach through the pages and pull them to safety—aware, alas, that many would firmly refuse rescue.
Product Details
ISBN: 9780393353266
ISBN-10: 0393353265
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Publication Date: October 4th, 2016
Pages: 272
Language: English
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