book reviews by Althea

The Daughters – Adrienne Celt ***

Leave a comment

The Daughters: A Novel
The Daughters: A Novel by Adrienne Celt

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Oddly, my second book about an opera singer that I’ve read this year, following Alexander Chee’s historical melodrama:…

This one, however, is a contemporary tale. Lulu, the singer, has recently given birth to a daughter, and is still physically recovering from the ordeal. She’s also having quite a lot of stress regarding her secret: the girl is not her husband’s child. Does he suspect? Should she tell him? On top of that, there are the questions likely shared by all new mothers: how does the existence of this new person change me? Who IS this neonate individual? And, one thought leading to another: Who am I? And who was my mother, and hers in turn?

Lulu’s childhood was one of a rift: Her mother, a jazz singer, was a wild and largely absent figure. Her grandmother filled her head with fanciful tales of family history, mixing fact with Polish folklore liberally, creating a mythic version of an escape from a war-torn country, the tragedy of lost family members, and a devil’s bargain that resulted in a curse that would carry down the generations, mother to daughter.

I have to admit that it was the folklore and the curse that brought me to the table. I stayed to savor the beautiful language – the writing here is lovely. However, the main focus of the book – as the title clearly implies – is motherhood and relationships between mothers and daughters, and I have to admit that the topic of becoming a mother is not one that enormously interests me. The drama between the main character and her husband also didn’t grab me at all. Others will naturally feel differently, I’m sure.
View all my reviews


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s