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The Mothering Coven

4.26 of 5 stars 4.26  ·  rating details  ·  42 ratings  ·  8 reviews
Fiction. Mapping a utopia on the brink, THE MOTHERING COVEN's rare blend of charisma and pyrotechnic wordplay makes for an utterly original act of storytelling. Bertrand has disappeared from the house she shared with seven women--artists, scientists, and of course, witches. As the women plan a party for Mrs. Borage's hundredth birthday, Bertrand's absence threatens to diss ...more
Paperback, 123 pages
Published October 15th 2009 by Ellipsis Press (first published 2009)
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What I love most about her writing is the prose, so I will quote the start for you here:

" Leaves used to pile on one side of the house, and now they pile on the other. The wind has changed direction. And who is subscribing to all these magazines?

Agnes closes the kitchen window. She checks the herring. No bubbles.

“The oven isn’t even on,” says Agnes.

“It must be a Bismarck,” says Mrs. Borage. “You never cook a Bismarck.”

Mrs. Borage has a logical mind. She sits in her rocking chair, snipping pictu
Justin Evans
Most surrealism is blokey and sexualized; The Mothering Coven is to surrealism what Belle and Sebastien are to cock rock. Same instruments, very, very different result. It is surrealistwee. Not a common genre, so far as I know.

I say this in part because I rarely get surrealism, and I'm not sure I get Ruocco's book; but I enjoy it *far* more than most surrealism or magical realism. The language is charmingly soporific; I learned lots of new words and about a few new people (Dorothy Canfield Fish
somehow with none of the ego-fluffing look-at-me posturing, it combines the virtuosic vocabulary of a george perec with the referential knowledge of a PHd student in Pagan Studies all written with a style all her own but as iconoclastic and rhythmic as david markson. hopeful and smart. and all brand new. and you should most definitely try it.

"Ruocco’s Coven is an engagingly whimsical tale, graceful and inventive, with its own distinctive lexicon, reminiscent of the works of such writers as Ronal
Mark Baumer
Some lines I liked:
"The hospitaltiy industry is not more interesting than paleozoology, says Agnes, but at least I don't have a degree in it."
"Mr. Henderson has made a little pile of clay into a little pile of clay."
"Fiona eats raisin after raisin in the kitchen, but she still looks wilted."
"Mrs. Borage likes the smell of the odorizing agents. They smell like cabbage."
"Luckily, Ms. Kidney is heaving metal buckets of frosty schnapps through the trees."
Ben Bush
The nine nieces of Mrs. Borage prepare for her 100th birthday in upstate New York. Littered with references to the history of Western history, literature, science and math, the books seems in a way interested in their growing irrelevance. It's fascinating but probably not necessary to look up some of the obscure items mentioned in it. Ruocco seems very talented. Her short story collection Man's Companions might be a better starting place for an interested reader.
Amusing book. The style, prose, story. I chuckled when reading the great dialogue between the characters:

"Which reminds me, where is my credit card?" asks Agnes. "I should pay our back taxes."

Imaginative. Wonderful characters.
Jamie Grefe
Ruocco's novel is hypnotizing and joyful; it makes me dizzy with magic. Her sentences, paragraphs, thoughts, and images seem to come from a place of pure felicity and controlled vibrancy. I. must. read. all. of. her. books.
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