My Mother: A Mystery

Lorentzen, Trude: Mysteriet mamma

There is something about the colours in that photo, that orange Seventies wallpaper, our matching wine-red blouses. We are embracing each other, my arm around her neck. Her eyes, behind the glasses. They show no fear, only joy. And her smile. It’s not for the photographer, even though she is looking straight into the camera. No, the laughing smile is for me, her only child, an only child who adores her single mother, who presses her lips against her cheek, with closed eyes, while I am probably emitting a loud cuddling sound. Mmmy mmum.

The photo is of us, everything we had together, captured in a single exposure. It seems impossible to imagine that these two people were not going to live happily ever after.

This is the story about Mia. A cheerful lady who suddenly and inexplicably became mentally ill when she reached mid-life. She committed suicide when Trude was 15. Now Trude is an adult, and she is a mother herself. She could not understand what happened to her mother at that time. Can she understand any more now? 

My Mother: A Mystery is a daughter’s declaration of love for a mother who could not bear to keep living. It is a story of powerlessness and hope, grief and survival. And about the fear of waking up one morning and being someone other than when one went to sleep the night before.

Praise for My Mother: A Mystery:

"A poetic documentary about adolescence, maternal love and mental illness. The novel immediately draws the reader in close ... Mum: The Mystery is destined to remain standing as a prime example of how literary devices used in fiction can give non-fiction a lift ... the mix of genres works perfectly in Mum: The Mystery, and lends both depth and passion to the text ... this novel is not written for purely subjective purposes, but reaches out towards others, such as the author’s own children and readers whose lives have been touched by suicide. It will retain an additional dimension for those who have personal experience of the subject matter, but Mum: The Mystery will satisfy anyone who is interested in powerful and extraordinary literature."
Aftenposten

"... an important contribution to a debate about health where mental illness often has a tendency to be brushed off as something transient and vague. Furthermore, it is a moving declaration of love from a bewildered daughter to her unexpectedly bewildered mother."
Dagsavisen

"This book is about much more than the absence of love. It's about the author retrieving the love for her mother. Lorentzen's depiction of the eleven years that passed between her parents' divorce and her mother's breakdown, also opens up for understanding everyday happiness, an understanding that stands as a powerful contrast to her mother's journey into the heart of darkness"
Dagbladet

"Lorentzen describes both her childhood and her relationship with her mother with a trained eye for well-placed details ... Lorentzen combines an immediate tone and a deliberate structure in this story about her mum."
Dagens Næringsliv

"In spite of the sad subject, the book is a life-affirming story of loss ... I've rarely read a book this explicitly motivated by, and overflowing with, love ... detailed and vital. The book has two clear messages that can hardly be overstated: She who is mentally ill is more than her diagnosis. And she who is left behind probably has more than tragedy to remember. Trude Lorentzen succeeds in writing about this in a captivating and—with one or two exceptions – very readable manner."
Klassekampen

"The story is really captivating from the get-go. You get curious as to who Trude's mum is. The author compels us to follow her journey with linguistic measures, structure and a consistent honesty, without using a sumptuous language ... My Mother: A Mystery engages, interests and relates to the reader. An exciting, informative and thought-evoking book."
5/6, Romerikets Blad

"a fictional documentary that really leaves its mark. Depression is not easy to understand, but the author manages to impart what it means to be next-of-kin ... My Mother: A Mystery makes a widespread disease a little less mysterious and taboo than before, and it concerns everyone."
5/6, VG

Click here for English sample translation.

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Language Foreign publisher
Swedish Ordfront

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