Mother Mother by Annie MacManus: A capable debut full of raw truths

Novel about a working-class Belfast family is honest, emotional and a bloody good read

Annie MacManus displays real skill as a writer

Annie MacManus displays real skill as a writer

The most immediately likable thing about Mother Mother is that it doesn’t try to be what it’s not. By that, I mean that it’s entirely unpretentious. I read this novel directly after reading the latest instalment of Deborah Levy’s memoir-style trilogy, Real Estate. And after all that gilded, stylish language wrapped around a big pile of nothing much, Mother Mother was an absolute tonic. 

The writing here is uncomplicated and unaffected, the dialogue realistic and the depth of feeling at times stunning. In spite of being Annie MacManus’s debut, we find an assured authorial voice; it’s all show-not-tell, yet without any of the usual exposed nails and joists of writing classes on display. This is a novel that does exactly what it’s supposed to, and does so with real skill. 

The Irish Times
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