Her Mother's Hands

by Karmele Jaio

Like Alice, Nerea feels she is falling into a rabbit hole. She worries about her mother, suffering from dementia and her former lover, a Basque ETA member who is said to be back in town. As a journalist Nerea is continually thwarted by her boss. But it's not at all a depressing story. There’s subtle humour about her very English husband. The writing is concise, poetic and easy. I found it a tender, heartfelt account about loss, loyalty and love.


'Think about what happens when you put a new coat of paint over the old one on a wardrobe. Brown paint over white, for example. Well, after a while you think the wardrobe was always brown. You forget that it was ever white. But over the years, the wardrobe suffers from humidity, heat, cold, the touches of many hands, and because of all these things, a piece of the top layer flakes off. A little piece of paint flakes off and under the brown, you see that the wardrobe has a white coat. At first you're surprised, but then you say, "that's right, it's true, this wardrobe was white once." This is what happens with us too. We repaint ourselves endlessly, putting one event on top of another, forgetting the one underneath or thinking that we've forgotten. But one day we take a hit and, just like the wardrobe, little pieces of the top layer fall to the ground, and other layers can then be seen, earlier ones. And then we say, "yes that's right, this wardrobe was white once."'
Translated by Kristin Addis


Grief is the Thing with Feathers by Max Porter
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Read Extract

Books with similar rating


1. Select UK region:

Not in the UK?

Scotland Norther Ireland North East of England North West of England Yorkshire and the Humber Wales West Midlands East Midlands East of England London South West of England South East of England

Sign in


Whichbook Sign Up

Enter your email address to get started:

First name:
Last name:
Confirm password:


Email alerts are only available for registered users.