Motherthing (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews

A weird, wonderful and horrifically funny/hilariously horrific new novel. An exploration of motherhood, marriage, depression and some of the most frightening cooking from the 30s (think jello molds), you won’t find a more unique novel this year. Both disturbing and moving, Motherthing is not for the faint of heart, but well worth the exploration into the darker places of our psyche. And of course, it’s a perfect October read. If you liked Sayaka Murata’s Earthlings, give this one a try.

— From October 2022 Staff Picks

October 2022 Indie Next List

Motherthing is dark, witty, and absurd — the perfect combination! Abby and Ralph move in with Ralph’s mother, but Laura is conniving and prickly. This book will leave you gasping, and you might think twice about eating chicken à la king.”
— Caitlin Baker, Island Books (WA), Mercer Island, WA


A darkly funny take on mothers and daughters, about a woman who must take drastic measures to save her husband and herself from the vengeful ghost of her mother-in-law

"Ainslie Hogarth's new novel is a stunner. Like Mona Awad's Bunny or Otessa Moshfegh's Eileen, Motherthing is a fabulous, frightening story built from fine, fine prose."—Laird Hunt, author of Zorrie

When Ralph and Abby Lamb move in with Ralph’s mother, Laura, Abby hopes it’s just what she and her mother-in-law need to finally connect. After a traumatic childhood, Abby is desperate for a mother figure, especially now that she and Ralph are trying to become parents themselves. Abby just has so much love to give—to Ralph, to Laura, and to Mrs. Bondy, her favorite resident at the long-term care home where she works. But Laura isn’t interested in bonding with her daughter-in-law. She’s venomous and cruel, especially to Abby, and life with her is hellish.

When Laura takes her own life, her ghost haunts Abby and Ralph in very different ways: Ralph is plunged into depression, and Abby is terrorized by a force intent on destroying everything she loves. To make matters worse, Mrs. Bondy’s daughter is threatening to move Mrs. Bondy from the home, leaving Abby totally alone. With everything on the line, Abby comes up with a chilling plan that will allow her to keep Mrs. Bondy, rescue Ralph from his tortured mind, and break Laura's hold on the family for good. All it requires is a little ingenuity, a lot of determination, and a unique recipe for chicken à la king…    


About the Author

AINSLIE HOGARTH is the author of three novels. She lives in Canada.

Praise For…

“Filled with sharp, crackling sentences, which bend variously sinister, humorous and sad, Ainslie Hogarth's new novel is a stunner. Like Mona Awad's Bunny or Otessa Moshfegh's Eileen, Motherthing is a fabulous, frightening story built from fine, fine prose.”
—Laird Hunt, author of Zorrie

“This novel is bursting with smart, provocative, heart-breaking things to say about the nature of grief and its ability to take up just as much—if not more—physical space than the actual person lost. Motherthing is gory and irreverent and totally irresistible—I can’t wait to see what Hogarth spooks us with, next.”
 —Courtney Maum, author of Touch and Costalegre

“Quirky, unexpected, and charming, Motherthing uses all the right ingredients combined in equal measure to ensure a delicious experience. Highly recommend.”
 —Mystery and Suspense Magazine

“A masterfully crafted horror novel that’s by turns humorous and deeply unsettling. . . . Abby makes a wonderful narrator; full of wry insights and frothy humor. . . . This dark domestic drama packs a punch.” 
 —Publishers Weekly, **starred review**

“Hogarth’s way with words enlivens every page of this psycho romp. . . . Her fearlessness and utter lack of inhibition animate the desperate longing and bitter trauma at the heart of this ghost story, administered with a steady drip of comic relief. Profane, insane, hilarious, disgusting—and unexpectedly moving.”
  —Kirkus Reviews **starred review**

“A darkly comic, kaleidoscopic novel of unhealthy fixations, love, murder, the gifts and wounds that family can inflict and one woman's fight to save herself.”
 —Shelf Awareness

“Fierce and unexpected, this darkly comedic horror is an exploration of how we haunt ourselves and how we allow others to haunt us, especially those closest to us. A crass narrator and an unraveling plot, coupled with subtext on sensitive and relatable topics, bring a dose of reality to what is otherwise a delightfully unhinged romp through domestic hell.”
 —Rue Morgue Magazine

“If you took Jane Fonda’s character from the 2005 film Monster-in-Law, made her an angry ghost, and mixed that with Neil Gaiman’s Coraline, you might get Hogarth’s new novel. . . . Fans of Jeff Strand, Grady Hendrix, and other dark-humor takes on horror will enjoy Motherthing.”

Product Details
ISBN: 9780593467022
ISBN-10: 0593467027
Publisher: Vintage
Publication Date: September 27th, 2022
Pages: 288
Language: English