Back when we published our zine, Khimairal Ink, we’d get a bunch of submissions and sort through them and select the best ones for the next issue. We focused on things like was it a good story and was it well-written. Then when we had our little pile of stories, we would select an illustration for the cover and have a discussion on what our editorial introductions would be about. So we’d look at the stories again and we’d often see that most, if not all, were centered around a single theme or genre. It was as if authors had been struck to write and/or submit a short story in the same genre or about the same thing at the same time. We had a speculative fiction issue, a light and amusing issue, cheatin’ hearts issue, an enlightenment issue . . .
So fast forward a bit and we looked at our recent books and realized that several of them also follow the same theme—mothers and daughters.
The trend started with Jericho by Ann McMan with an important secondary story between Maddie Stevenson and her estranged mother Celine.
Then we published Letters Never Sent by Sandra Moran, which is about a daughter’s discovery of a secret from her mother’s past. By coincidence, Everything by Carole Wolf also follows this theme. Yet no two books could be more different from each other. While the story of true love between the mother and a woman from her past is at the core of both books, Letters Never Sent explores the cultural and social impact on women during the 1930s through the 1950s, and Everything gives us a glimpse into the sex, drugs, and rock n roll scene of the early 1990s. Both books weave the times and settings in rich, vibrant tapestries and both have nice twists at the end as a result of the daughters’ journeys of discovery and revelation.
The Paths of Marriage by Mala Kumar is about three generations of women, and tells the story of a young woman in India who marries and moves to the United States to make a better life for herself and her family, her daughter who is caught between cultures, and her daughter who is an out lesbian to everyone except her mother and grandmother. We are taken on a journey that begins in Chennai, India and ends up in modern day New York City as thousands of years of cultural barriers have to be torn down for these women to find what it means to be family again.
Kid by Doreen Perrine, due out in time for the holiday season, is based on a true story about a lesbian mother fighting her ex-husband for custody of her child in the wake of the Save Our Children campaign of the seventies. Perrine gives us a story about the women who were brave enough to stand up to the system and be a part of one of the many efforts throughout the 1970s and 1980s to get the courts to change the laws that gay and lesbians were automatically unfit to have custody of their child. But at the core is the special relationship between a mother and a daughter who have spent too many years on the run and living in fear of being found and separated.
So explore the world of mothers and daughters through these entertaining and intriguing books.