Horrifying And Heart Breaking
Mother And Child by Annie Murray is a powerful contemporary novel exploring parenthood, loss and friends.
As with many of Annie Murray’s novels, the story is set mainly in my hometown of Birmingham. The locations are familiar to me – I have been to Lodge Hill cemetery, Dudley Zoo, Wythall and more – knowing the locations enhanced my reading experience. I am even familiar with the location of Sainsburys in the book!
The novel is set in 2014 around a couple whose only son was killed by a drunk driver two years before the book opens. Their loss and devastation is keenly felt. In order to help with the healing process, the couple have moved house as the story opens.
A photo in a magazine showing the Bhopal disaster of 1984 (which I remember) awakens a passion in a character to make a difference. As a heart looks beyond self, inner healing begins.
Part of the novel is set in contemporary Bhopal. The busyness, vibrancy and colourfulness are in sharp contrast to the after effects of the disaster which are still being felt to this day. We witness the bonds of women and mothers. They share a common language of grief.
There are parallels between Bhopal and mid twentieth century industrial Britain – where accidents happen, lives are changed but no body takes responsibility. A character has lived under a cloud of guilt and shame since an industrial accident happened to her husband in 1959.
Mother And Child was a powerful, heart-breaking read that totally consumed me. I love all Annie Murray’s novels and cannot wait to read more.
I received a free copy via Net Galley. A favourable review was not required. All opinions are my own.