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Snapshots. A lens opens, a shutter snaps, a moment is preserved. The moment isn’t staged or premeditated or airbrushed, but there, of the instant, as genuine, and often as fragmentary and confusing, as real life. We stare at the image, bemused by its grainy realism, coloring it with our own experience as we try to interpret the story it tells.
The stories in this volume are literary snapshots from the pens of some of the century’s best women writers: Isabel Allende, Margaret Atwood, Mary Gordon, Jamaica Kincaid, Gloria Naylor, Alice Walker, and Joyce Carol Oates, among others. All seventeen stories deal with a single, central, and vital theme: the relationship of mothers to daughters and daughters to mothers, and it is the interplay of this dynamic that provides the focus of these wonderfully felt and beautifully told stories. The permutations and variations on this theme are marvelously intricate and diverse: the loss of a mother to madness; the loss of a daughter to drugs; the mother who feels she has sacrificed her life to an ungrateful child; the daughter who finally sees her mother as a person in her own right. They all, in the words of Janet Berliner, “present motherhood in microcosm and affirm the truth that, while we do not all like being daughters or like our mothers, women are inextricably bonded by something that neither ethnicity nor age nor stage of life can remove. Thus, those of us who call ourselves writers inevitably turn to exploring, in words, the mother-daughter relationship.”
Compiled by award-winning authors and highly respected editors, Joyce Carol Oates and Janet Berliner, this collection contains tales that span the globe, from Africa to Europe, from North to South America. Poignant, powerful and memorable, Snapshots should be required reading for anyone who wishes to understand — or simply remember — what it means to be a mother, and how it feels to be a daughter.