Every Day Is Mother's Day

Hilary Mantel




Trade Paperback

240 Pages


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Evelyn Axon is a medium by trade; her daughter, Muriel, is a half-wit by nature. Barricaded in their crumbling house, surrounded by the festering rubbish of years, they defy the curiosity of their neighbors and their social worker, Isabel Field. Isabel is young and inexperienced and has troubles of her own: an elderly father who wanders the streets, and a lover, Colin, who wants her to run away with him. But Colin has three horrible children and a shrill wife who is pregnant again—how is he going to run anywhere? As Isabel wrestles with her own problems, a horrible secret grows in the darkness of the Axon household. When at last it comes to light, the result is by turns hilarious and terrifying.


Praise for Every Day Is Mother's Day

"A giddy cocktail of horror and gleeful anticipation."—Kathryn Harrison, The New York Times

"Mantel's writing is so exact and brilliant that, in itself, it seems an act of survival, even redemption . . . Mantel is unflinching, and I like her that way."—Joan Acocella, The New Yorker

"Readers will surely be seduced by her sharp humor, reminiscent of Muriel Spark or Edna O'Brien, and her nail-biting narration . . . Wrapped in the brisk plotting of a suspense thriller, a la Graham Greene."—Charlotte Innes, Los Angeles Times Book Review

"Mantel is without peer in her generation."—Janice Nimura, San Francisco Chronicle
"An exhilarating combination of kitchen-sink realism and grim expressionist farce: convincing further proof that Mantel is one of England's best contemporary novelists."—Kirkus Reviews
"[A] remarkable first novel."—Publishers Weekly

Reviews from Goodreads



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When Mrs. Axon found out about her daughter's condition, she was more surprised than sorry; which did not mean that she was not very sorry indeed. Muriel, for her part, seemed pleased. She sat with her legs splayed and her arms around herself, as if reliving the event. Her face wore an expression of daft beatitude.

It was always hard to know what would please Muriel. That winter, when the old man fell on the street and broke his hip, Muriel had personally split her sides. She was in her way a formidable character. It wasn't often she had a good laugh.


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  • Hilary Mantel

  • Hilary Mantel is the critically acclaimed author of eight novels, seven of which are available in paperback from Henry Holt. Winner of the Hawthornden Prize, she lives in England. Ms. Mantel reviews for The New York Times and the New York Review of Books.
  • Hilary Mantel John Haynes
    Hilary Mantel