Paperback: The Afterlife, by Donald Antrim

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The Independent Culture

Relationships with mothers can be fraught. But making up with dead mothers is yet more complicated. New Yorker Donald Antrim's writerly memoirs of life with an alcoholic mother range from ruined Christmas days to futile attempts to excuse her behaviour. "When you are, as I was – and as I am – the anxious child of a volatile, childlike mother... you learn to accept, as realistic and viable, statements and opinions that are clearly ludicrous." You may feel sorry for him, but it's his cast of ever-changing girlfriends that invite most pity – women forever destined to pay the price for the failure of his first male-female bond.

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