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Visions of Family by Female Authors

The Discomfort of Evening

Marieke Lucas Rijneveld is a young Dutch writer. When she was just three years old, her 12-year-old brother dies in a traffic accident. As his younger sister, instead of pushing the incident into the depths of her memory, she writes a novel about the effects of the loss on her family. Her debut novel The Discomfort of Evening creates an overwhelming impression upon its publication in the Netherlands, becoming one of the best-selling and discussed books of the year. The English translation of the book brings the author the International Booker Prize, one of the most prestigious literary awards, at a very young age. The novel begins with the death of Matthies in a skiing accident.

His sister, who is 10 years old at the time, thinks of ways to save her family from destruction. She hides two frogs under her bed and believes that if they mate, her parents will also start making love and that everything will be alright. Left by her own by her parents, the games she plays with her brother and sister become gradually more violent. Set in the two years of her transitioning to adolescence, The book proves to be a mind-broadening novel about family, loss, the internal and external turmoil of adolescence, and the big choices in life written by a young and very bright author.

Manual for Cleaning Women

Lucia Berlin’s stories weren’t very popular during her lifetime. A selection of her 43 stories was published in a book after her death, making Berlin one of the world’s most prominent story authors. Having had experiences in many different jobs and in life in general from the bohemian days she spent in New York in the ‘50s to being a nurse in Oakland in the ‘70s, Berlin married three times, had four kids, and struggled with alcoholism. These stories are distilled narratives of her vibrant life.

In the book, which includes stories about women working in various jobs, there’s a story called “Mama” which is about a mother and her daughters. The protagonist, makes great effort for her dying sister to forgive their alcoholic mother, but knows deep down that she herself will never forgive her. These stories, feeds on autobiographical elements, which can be regarded as a narrative of Berlin’s life, and is the testament of the life and literature of a female author who remained underappreciated in her lifetime.


In Ojen’s novel, main characters Selma and Metin live in a public housing at the foot of Mount Süphan, overlooking Lake Van and Erciş Plain. They have two kids, Görkem and Murat. From the outside, they could perfectly fit the definition of an ideal family. However, Ojen lets the reader know that it’s not the case, both with her imaginary world and the language she uses; along with uncanny, complicated, and dark characters - Selma in particular. Selma has always been loved by her family and spouse; however, she continues to question the limits and definitions of this love.

. She’s a mother who wishes to be loved just for who she is, not because she is someone’s daughter, mother, or wife, which pushes her further into the pits of lovelessness. There’s a distance and scepticism even in her relationship with her children, the fruits of her bond with Metin, i.e., their love. The children are aware of it; in fact, what they feel toward their mother can hardly be called love; and as time passes Metin’s paternal affection proves not to be sufficient to keep the family together. Ojen’s novel examines the understanding of family; the individualist aspect of womanhood in being a daughter and a mother; the sense of loneliness in relationships; and the feelings of being loved, loving someone, and being unloved, all with a layered, chilling, and clear perspective in the landscape of her country and the cold reality of life.

Vanishing Acts

Delia Hopkins lives with her father, and her daughter Sophie. She works in a search and rescue team and is living a peaceful life with her fiancé. However, she suddenly starts remembering the details of her past, including the ceaseless fights between her parents. Gradually, she realizes that her mother didn’t die the way her father described and that he took Delia away to lock her in another story. Jodi Picoult is a productive writer with an exclusive skill in creating in-the-flesh female characters that seem almost real. Starting off from the tragic relationship between a troubled mother and her daughter,

Vanishing Acts is a page-turner which dwells upon the topics of family, motherhood, regret, and relationships. There’s also good news for her Turkish readers as two more of her novels will be published in Turkish by April Publishing in the following months.


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