literary journalism

Shalom Auslander’s ‘Mother for Dinner’

“Mothers taste awful,” opens Shalom Auslander’s outrageous new satire. “ . . . gamy and dry, their years seasoned with disappointment and heartbreak”.

Seventh Seltzer is the seventh son in what may be the last Can-Am (Cannibal-American) family — a once-thriving, if clandestine, minority. Estranged from his mother, he has been summoned along with his 11 siblings to her deathbed. Mudd, as they call her, has been stuffing herself with Burger King Whoppers (double bacon, extra cheese, no lettuce) to prepare herself to be devoured upon death, a sacred rite in their community.

The Seltzer siblings have disappointed Mudd with perceived offences including assimilating, marrying out and transitioning, but they gather around her deathbed to honour her last wish: to be eaten. She has incentivized them by making her consumption a condition of their shared inheritance — the proceeds of the sale of a five-bedroom brownstone in the hottest real estate market in Brooklyn…

Read the full review online in the Financial Times

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