Snapshots: 20th Century Mother-Daughter Fiction

By Janet Berliner; Joyce Carol Oates | Go to book overview

How to Talk to Your Mother
(Notes)

LORRIE MOORE

1982. Without her, for years now, murmur at the defrosting refrigerator, "What?" "Huh?" "Shush now," as it creaks, aches, groans, until the final ice block drops from the ceiling of the freezer like something vanquished.

Dream, and in your dreams babies with the personalities of dachshunds, fat as Macy balloons, float by the treetops.

The first permanent polyurethane heart is surgically implanted.

Someone upstairs is playing "You'll Never Walk Alone" on the recorder. Now it's "Oklahoma!" They must have a Rodgers and Hammerstein book.

1981. On public transportation, mothers with soft, soapy, corduroyed seraphs glance at you, their faces dominoes of compassion. Their seraphs are small and quiet or else restlessly counting bus-seat colors: "Blue-blue-blue, red-red-red, lullow-lullow-lullow." The mothers see you eyeing their children. They smile sympathetically. They believe you envy them. They believe you are childless. They believe they know why. Look quickly away, out the smudge of the window.

1980. The hum, rush, clack of things in the kitchen. These are some of the sounds that organize your life. The clink of the silverware inside the drawer, piled like bones in a mass grave. Your similes grow grim, grow tired.

Reagan is elected president, though you distributed donuts and brochures for Carter.

Date an Italian. He rubs your stomach and says, "These are marks

-125-

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Snapshots: 20th Century Mother-Daughter Fiction
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page III
  • Contents V
  • Foreword VII
  • Introduction IX
  • Wicked Girl 3
  • Consuelo's Letter 14
  • Significant Moments in the Life of My Mother 24
  • The Allies 39
  • Cleaning Up 49
  • La Lloradora 65
  • An Ordinary Woman 90
  • Girl 95
  • Solitude 97
  • How to Talk to Your Mother (Notes) 125
  • Kiswana Browne 134
  • A Rose in the Heart of New York 146
  • Mousetrap 174
  • Up Above Diamond City 185
  • Eveyday Use 195
  • Death Mother 204
  • Everything Old is New Again 228
  • Contributors' Notes 235
  • Copyright Acknowledgments 241
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