In My Mother's House A Novel

Margaret McMullan




Trade Paperback

272 Pages



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In My Mother's House is a haunting and expertly told novel about a daughter's obsession to understand her mother's commitment to silence about their family's experiences in World War II Vienna.

The story of Elizabeth and her mother Jenny is remarkable for its fullness of details: the pieces of family silver the grandmother mails to Jenny, one by one, over the years; Jenny's vivid memoirs of her uncle's viola d'amore lessons; the smell of the wood floors in the family's Vienna home. This is an emotional story of what is inherited from one generation to the next—physically, emotionally, and otherwise.


Praise for In My Mother's House

"A graceful [story of the] global catastrophe of the Nazi era . . . It is the individual, private pain [that this era] caused that is skillfully given voice here by Margaret McMullan."—The Boston Globe

"The two narrative threads blend into one harmonious story, proving that while we can leave a country, we can't escape our history."—Entertainment Weekly

"Exquisite. I salute Margaret McMullan's elegantly crafted prose, her beautifully restraint, her emotionally honesty, and her storytelling power."—Phillip Lopate, author of Portrait of My Body

"Margaret McMullan's voice shines like old silver, polished rich and clear. This is a story of vision and blindness, speech and silence, and the healing that comes from time."—Beth Lordan, author of And Both Shall Row

"As McMullan weaves together the narratives of mother and daughter, she dramatizes their survivor trauma and denial with haunting intensity. And the big questions are rooted in the story: Not where was God, but where was man?"—Booklist

"McMullan's fascinating account of the complexity of survival will haunt and strengthen its readers. Understanding the traumas of earlier generations is the key to American Elizabeth's own liberation in this transporting novel."—Senajeter Naslund, author of Ahab's Wife and Four Spirits

"McMullan's ability to storytell is a music she resonates against the heart's hard wisdom. In My Mother's House is an heirloom—one of those novels you pass on to everyone."—Dale Ray Phillips, author of 0 My People's Waltz

"A haunting and beautifully written novel about the great themes of memory and love. Margaret McMullan is a splendid new voice among us."—Robert Olen Butler, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain

"What an exquisite and elegant novel. This beautiful story of memory and identity, faith and family proves that Margaret McMullan is the next gifted writer to watch."—Shirley Ann Grau, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Keepers of the House

"A type of archeological dig performed within the dark pit of a family's loss, In My Mother's House is surprising in its power to quietly, gracefully infect the reader with yearning, homesick for the places we once claimed but shall never have again."—Bob Shacochis, National Book Award-winning author of Easy in the Islands

Reviews from Goodreads



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Margaret McMullan is an English professor at the University of Evansville, Indiana, and the author of a previous novel, When Warhol Was Still Alive.
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  • Margaret McMullan

  • Margaret McMullan is an English professor at the University of Evansville, Indiana, and the author of a previous novel, When Warhol Was Still Alive. She is also the author of the young adult novel How I Found the Strong.