My Mother's House: A Memoir

My Mother's House: A Memoir

My Mother's House: A Memoir

My Mother's House: A Memoir


Set in the bucolic, yet brutal South of his youth, My Mother's House is a memoir by novelist David Armand. It recounts the young author's early memories of being born to a schizophrenic mother, then given up for adoption, only to be raised in a home with an alcoholic and abusive step-father. In this sharply-remembered portrait of the people and places that shaped him, Armand paints his seemingly negative experiences with a sympathetic and understanding brush. As the reader follows Armand through his childhood and later into adult life--when he is reunited with his mother after she makes a failed suicide attempt--a surprisingly new world of hope and possibility is rendered, despite the overwhelming challenges of this reunion.

[Armand's] writing is reminiscent of Hemingway: straightforward descriptions of manly action punctuated by laconic dialogue."-- New York Journal of Books

"Armand writes in a comfortingly familiar literary voice that blends Ernest Hemingway's laconic but rhythmically complicated explorations of the mysteries of masculinity with William Faulkner's more fabulist, Southern Gothic twang. It's a heady, seductively intoxicating combination."-- Richmond Times-Dispatch


My mother smells of urine, feces, the body odor that comes from the over-production of the chemical trans3-methyl-2-hexenoic acid, and rotten food. This is the smell of schizophrenia. Her house smells equally bad, if not worse. She lives on several small conjoined lots that are all overgrown with weeds and trees. What little of the yard is cleared is littered with old, rusted appliances, insulation that has been torn from under one of her trailers by raccoons; there are feral dogs and cats, rats, and hordes of garbage.

When Hurricane Katrina brought in a nearly thirty-foot storm surge from the Gulf of Mexico, it flooded her trailer, coming up past the roof, from which she and her husband had to swim to a nearby pine tree and hang on until the storm finally passed and the surge receded. To this day, nearly ten years after the storm, she still has the two mobile homes that were flooded out sitting on her property—they are uninhabitable, yet she spends a fair amount of her time in them and refuses (even when fema offered to remove them for free, and then even after they demanded the trailers be . . .

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