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A Russian Mother [a novel]

Alain Bosquet, translated by Barbara Bray and with an afterword by Germaine Brée
A Russian Mother [a novel]
ISBN: 978-08419-1329-5
1996/225 pages
Distributed for Holmes & Meier Publishers

"I cannot recommend or praise A Russian Mother highly enough. It is a beautiful and bitter book. Alain Bosquet treats the relationship of an only son and his mother—that most tragic of love affairs—with the tenderness, intelligence and humanity of a very great writer."—Louis Begley

"A beautifully written novel, and one that will be read by many of us over the years for its subtle and remarkable reorganization of chronology."—-Norman Mailer

"Brilliant and beautiful."—Small Press Magazine

"[A]n eloquent exploration of the mutual appreciations and frustrations of [the narrator's] relationship with his mother. Enriching the narrative is its backdrop of cataclysmic events ... Barbara Bray's translation displays the artfulness of Mr. Bosquet's prose, especially when he describes the interior life of a child trying to make sense of the adults around him."—New York Times Book Review

"A powerful, stirring novel in a splendid translation."—Choice


At the core of A Russian Mother lies the profound ambivalence of two people who are chillingly remote yet obsessively attached. This painful symbiosis between a mother and son takes shape in fragments, as the narrative jumps back and forth in time until the late1970s. The narrator provides the psychological threads that unify the haphazard chronology, the chaotic uprootings, and the conflicting emotions as he tries to come to terms with his mother—as blood relative and fictional character.


Alain Bosquet is a widely acclaimed novelist, critic, and poet. His poems have been translated by Samuel Beckett, Wallace Fowlie, and Denise Levertov, among others. A Russian Mother, his first novel to appear in English, received the Grand Prix du Roman from the Académie française and has been translated into ten languages.