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Mother Knows: 24 Tales of Motherhood

Mother Knows: 24 Tales of Motherhood


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Ann Beattie, Joyce Carol Oates, Richard Bausch, and twenty-one other celebrated American writers contribute to this moving anthology of fiction, compiled by the editors of the Glimmer Train literary quarterly.
In the ten-plus years since Susan Burmeister-Brown and Linda B. Swanson-Davies founded Glimmer Train, they have introduced an astonishing array of talented and innovative authors to a growing readership hungry for inspiring fiction. The stunning stories in this anthology — many of which have never appeared anywhere except in Glimmer Train Stories — explore one of the most complex emotional and psychological ties of all: motherhood, and its many facets.
The writers in Mother Knows include established authors as well as up-and-coming talents like Junot Díaz and award-winning writers like Robin Bradford, Nancy Reisman, Lee Martin, and Doug Crandell. Their stories demonstrate that motherhood is more than toilet training and tantrum control, as they portray the full, fierce, joyous, and frightening range of experience that marks this state of being.
Mother Knows is a thoughtful and powerful exploration of the most mysterious bond in life.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780743488785
Publisher: Washington Square Press
Publication date: 04/20/2004
Edition description: Original
Pages: 368
Product dimensions: 5.31(w) x 8.25(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Susan Burmeister-Brown and her sister, Linda B. Swanson-Davies, have been editing the national literary quarterly Glimmer Train for more than a decade. They live in Portland, Oregon. Their previous anthology, Mother Knows: 24 Tales of Motherhood, is available from Washington Square Press.

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Mother Knows

24 Tales of Motherhood

Washington Square Press

ISBN: 0743488784


Susan and I tend to converse with our faces rather than our voices. We're sisters. And we've worked side by side since February 8, 1982, and have made a point of having at least a little hole in the wall -- literally -- between us so we could communicate this way.

Now we have a wavy glass divider between our two desks, just up to the tops of our noses, so we have complete privacy and focus until we both look up -- or until one of us snorts, usually Susan. (Hahahahah! That's what you get for making me write this!)

In 1957, our parents decided to switch paths -- moving from city life to farming -- and, being romantics, conceived Susan, a new life in celebration of a new life. I became a serious farm girl, and Susan became a happily voracious reader by the time she was three. When she was ten, the eye doctor delivered the frightful news that Susan would go blind within a couple of years. Mom, also an unstoppable reader, said simply, No. And she was right, I believe, because she said so. Mom, a powerful woman, loved us, and we knew it.

In 1969, our big sister, Dabby, and her husband, Art, took us on a two-month, cross-country road trip. It was grand, but Susan, still only ten, was heartbroken with missing our mom. When we were reunited with our parents, Mom promised Susan that she would never be gone so long from her again.

As Susan recalls, "It was the recent memory of that painful separation that first came to me when she told me the next early spring that she was dying. I could not imagine how I would survive it. And to make matters more complicated, as mother matters often are, I was going through the age-eleven rebellion against her at the time. I was embarrassed that she could no longer speak; I was embarrassed that her head was shaved and that she had lost some of her propriety; I was embarrassed to bring friends home. On the night before she died at home, she waved each of us over to her separately and said the first word she'd been able to speak since that spring. Love, she said. When she looked at me, she somehow absolved me of my guilt. I knew she understood, that all was all right with us. She never awoke the next morning. And yet, she has kept her promise. I have never felt she has been far away."

I married in 1971, divorced in 1990, remarried him in 1999. Great guy, both times and still. We have one wonderful daughter, Erin, already striking out on her own. Susan and her husband had their son, a sweet boy named Henry (after our father), in 1995. And life goes on.

Mothers. We have them, we lose them, we shun them, we need them, we become them or we don't. There is always love and loss. And there are stories.

-- Linda B. Swanson-Davies

Copyright 2004 by Glimmer Train Press, Inc.


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Table of Contents



Karen Outen • What's Left Behind

Dianne King Akers • Small Speaking Parts

Monica Wood • Frost: A Love Story

H. G. Carrillo • Leche

Susanna Bullock • 4149A

Diane Chang • Mother Knows

Richard Bausch • Weather

Michael Frank • In the Bed of Forgetting

Ayse Papatya Bucak • Hitch

George Makana Clark • Backmilk

Ronald F. Currie Jr. • Visiting Your Grave

Jennifer Seoyuen Oh • January

Junot Díaz • Invierno

Nancy Reisman • The Good Life

Karenmary Penn • Rift

J. Patrice Whetsell • The Coconut Lady

Nathan Long • Tracking

Margo Rabb • How to Find Love

Joyce Carol Oates • The Missing Person

Doug Crandell • Colored Glass

Lee Martin • Love Field

Ioanna Carlsen • Going Home

Robin Bradford • Bob Marley Is Dead

Ann Beattie • Solitude

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