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Every Day Is Mother's Day (Axon Family #1)

3.54  ·  Rating details ·  853 Ratings  ·  130 Reviews
By the Booker Prize-Winning Author of WOLF HALL

Evelyn Axon is a medium by trade; her daughter, Muriel, is a half-wit by nature. Barricaded in their crumbling house, surrounded by the festering rubbish of years, they defy the curiosity of their neighbors and their social worker, Isabel Field. Isabel is young and inexperienced and has troubles of her own: an elderly father w
Paperback, 240 pages
Published August 31st 2010 by Picador (first published 1985)
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Sarah (Presto agitato)
I love Hilary Mantel. Her writing has such precision. She misses nothing and finds exactly the right way to phrase her observations.

Unfortunately, even her skill did not save Every Day is Mother’s Day. This was Mantel’s first book, the story of a mentally unfit daughter, her disturbed mother, the social worker assigned to their case, and the married man who sleeps with the social worker. There is an undercurrent of supernatural malevolence thrown in for good measure.

The writing is not quite as p
Florence (Lefty) MacIntosh
Her 1st novel and it's excellent. It’s grim, brooding and infinitely entertaining; this author’s raw talent as a storyteller is immediately evident. The main character is Muriel Axon, a mentally handicapped shut-in who lives with her equally dysfunctional mother Isobel. Another key player is her barely functioning social worker who is more focused on her married lover than dealing with Muriel & her mother's problems. Despite the subject matter this is a surprisingly funny novel, the humour i ...more
Nov 06, 2011 rated it liked it
I love reading prose like Ms Mantel's: brisk, precise and compelling. It's a relief to be able to read two of her books in succession after having slogged through weightier tomes, which is no slur on any of the writing involved nor, indeed, a comment on any of the stories conveyed. But the elegant readability of her language, the way it doesn't ever snag or get in the way of the story: it's like slipping into a comfortable robe at the end of the day. Refreshing and, like the work of Muriel Spark ...more
Oct 15, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mantel is, as they say, a witty writer and I keep turning page after page with interest. She's not above preposterous coincidence or straight-faced pun. (Mrs. Axon is something of a medium who reaches out like an axon to trasmit messages to the other side.)

But you must understand that all the characters in this book are a joyless lot whose lives are so empty they cannot for the most part even find ways to struggle for something better. Colin struggles, ineptly, and fails. Murial struggles and s
Karyn Wergland
All I can say is, don't read this when you're pregnant. You'll end up convinced that you've made a terrible mistake, that family life is a horror, that you are on a downward chute toward abject misery. As soon as you put down the book, you'll realize the author is presenting a one-sided view of that lifestyle. But while you're reading it, you'll feel like you're mucking about in a dirty toilet bowl.

For this, I would give the book zero stars. Which may not be entirely fair, since Mantel's not re
A bit like watching a train wreck. Very grim. England, 1970s. Characters with serious, sad, issues. No one to like. And yet, I finished it. I was interested. I wanted to find out what happened. Many of the threads were not tied up. We were just left to understand why people were so messed up. Clever writing, interesting sentences, interesting associations and descriptions. But not necessarily an experience I would wish on anyone.
Apr 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Always wanted to read Hilary Mantel. Wish I hadn't waited so long. Now I have lots of good stuff ahead of me. This was an odd book and reminded me a bit of the late, great Ruth Rendell's psychological portraits of really strange English families. I'm looking forward to reader some of her newer books.
Jul 04, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love Mantel's writing but, man, this book is unrelenting. It starts off dark and just gets darker. Misery and more misery. And the ending disappointed me. So . . . I'll stick to her short stories, which I love, and Wolf Hall.
Apr 15, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
not finished, just started, but so far: 1) the 'medium' 's connection to the other world isn't, so far: far from being creepy and supernatural, it's just about someone deluded; 2) it's a sharp, sharp satire on social manners, so far. I can't understand all the reviews about 'the characters are unloveable' or 'there's no plot': it's very clearly a satire of manners and mores and the recent past in little england, why are you expecting 'nice' characters or a 'plot'?
the problem is the whole, not th
Derek Baldwin
Jul 28, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this several months after reading it's sequel (Vacant Possession). So I had an inkling of where the story was headed to, but this didn't spoil the story at all.

This is very well-written, economical, convincing. The dark humour doesn't undermine the seriousness of this sharp satire of 1970s Britain. It's a world where people hate their stupid pointless jobs, cannot work out why they sire noisy ungrateful smartarse kids, resist the urge to murder their oppressive paranoid parents... or do
Aug 06, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The first book by one of my favorite authors is a nasty piece of work. Practically all the characters are ugly and horrible, and I was pleased that the book was only 225 pages, as that was about all I could take of their company. It left me feeling appreciative that at some point in her career, the author stopped trying to be Martin Amis and started being, well, Hilary Mantel.
Nov 01, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rather unsettling.
Sep 11, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no one
Shelves: holiday-read
A mostly grim book with one or two comic moments. I only read the book because I was on holiday and had run out of novels. Recommended if you enjoy misery.
Jul 20, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
a tale of horror told chiefly by implication
Jun 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Längst haben es die Nachbarn aufgegeben, mit Evelyn und Muriel Axon Kontakt zu pflegen. Das ist Evelyn, die früher gelegentlich als Medium arbeitete und sich von Geistern verfolgt fühlt, nur recht. Zusammen mit ihrer Tochter verbarrikadiert sie sich in ihrem Haus, das mehr und mehr verfällt. Mit den Sozialarbeitern, die ihre geistig behinderte Tochter fördern wollen, wird sie schnell fertig. Aber wie soll sie mit Muriels Schwangerschaft und dem Kind, wenn es denn mal da ist, u
Uli Vogel
Jan 31, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A whole community full of not really likeable individuals. I was sort of relieved when that horrible Evelyn went.... most of the characters can only be pitied. Do not read this book if you think misanthropy is a vice.
I continue with its sequel.
Apr 19, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Vor langer Zeit hat Evelyn Axon einmal als Medium gearbeitet und Kontakt zu Verstorbenen aufgenommen. Seitdem scheint im Haus die Zeit stillzustehen. Evelyn und ihr inzwischen verstorbener Mann waren stets für sich geblieben. Das war vermutlich auch besser so; denn Evelyn hatte ihren eigenen Kopf und sah nicht ein, ihre Wäsche so auf die Leine zu hängen, wie ihre Nachbarinnen es für richtig hielten. Wir befinden uns im Jahr 1973, als britische Milchmänner die Milch noch in Flaschen vor die Tür s ...more
Mary Ronan Drew
Every Day Is Mother's DayI didn't discover Hilary Mantel until Wolf Hall was published. I like to think of myself as well-read but somehow she had slipped through the cracks. So I only recently became interested in her as a person and in her work. I read her memoir, Giving Up the Ghost, which I'll talk about in another post when I get my emotions and opinions about it under control.

When I read a post on dovegreyreader about her first novel, Every Day Is Mother's Day (1985), I decided to read al
Jun 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, british
this wasn't quite as good as the other 4 star books I just read, but it was better than a 3 star. mantel's writing is excellent - I have read wolf hall and bring up the bodies and love them. I think mainly the end wasn't completely satisfying to me, it got a little ghost storyish and I didn't think that was necessary. but hilary mantel did, so I'll defer to her!

this was a unique story, with a strange mother-daughter pair and what has been a sort of theme for me lately in the shining and the hau
Sherry Howland
Aug 22, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Dang, this was disappointing! After being swept up in Mantel's "Wolf Hall," I was looking forward to seeing how she would handle contemporary people and situations. Verdict: Not so well. There are 2 basic story lines happening here. The first deals with Evelyn Axon, a widowed mother of a (maybe) mentally challenged pregnant daughter, Muriel. Evelyn, a locally renowned spiritualist, is gradually losing her grip on reality and is convinced evil spirits are taking over their ramshackle flat, room b ...more
Sep 24, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio-book, c20th, britain
Day is Mother’s Day (1985) is an early novel by Hilary Mantel, now a the bestselling Booker Prize winner of Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies fame. It is quite different in style to the Tudor novels, more like Beyond Black which I read and enjoyed for his sardonic humour in 2005.

The ironic title refers to the battle of wills between Mrs Axon, the vicious mother of Muriel, who’s not too intellectually disabled to wage war of her own; and Isabel Field, the hapless social worker who’s completely ou
Robert Ronsson
When I read established writers' first novels I do it with part of my mind asking the question: how did this one jump out of the slush-pile? This is one of the few where the answer is easy to see. It's now 30 years since its publication yet it still strikes me as innovative in its use of language and dynamic in the way Mantel hurries her characters through the plot. It's like she's a grandmaster playing multiple-opponent, against-the-clock chess. Each of the scenario boards is given the minimum ...more
Jean Carlton
Apr 23, 2014 rated it it was ok
I finished this book and ....was not sure what I thought of it. After more reflection, I cannot say I 'liked' it. The blurb on the back uses the word 'hilarious' (and terrifying)...It was in no way funny to me let alone hilarious - terrifying, yes. Sad and dark, I think it says more about the world of the mentally ill and the inadequacies of the social service agencies than anything else. Woven into the weird horrifying parts is the connection of a married man having an affair with the social wo ...more
Maria Longley
Aug 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 5-star-reads, fa, 2013
This is quite a debut novel. And Muriel Axon is quite a character. This is a book of very black humour, an odd and quirky story, and is probably quite British (of the 1970s variation)... "Happiness seems a bit ambitious" remarks Isabel Field and this does seem to be the case for most of the novel where Colins interesting method of staving off too much despair by playing a recording of Sousa marches because "you wouldn't kill yourself after that -- after you'd marched about a bit. It would be too ...more
Miss Karen Jean Martinson
I loved this book! It's quirky and a little disturbing but also a really fun read. Mantel really knows how to let a story unfold, giving away enough information - but not too much - as you get to know the characters. In many ways, it's like getting to know people in real life. You take the available information, make assumptions or educated opinions about the person based on that information, and revise as necessary. The final third of the book really became an intensely fun build. I couldn't pu ...more
Jul 29, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm not entirely sure what I made of this book, it was all a bit glum....and grim in parts, nobody was happy..... I couldn't figure out if there were actual ghosts or if the daughter was inflicting all the pain on the mother(though towards the end it seemed the former), the casual revelation of child abuse was quite a shock.
I think for me, as much as it was written well, it probably left me with more answers than I liked.
Jun 12, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of her older efforts, a short, interesting book that is hard to describe. The characters are all seriously flawed, leading lives of quiet desperation. One very funny scene is at a dinner party where all the attendees are completely wasted. I think I liked it, but it's definitely not for all.
Aug 29, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is kind of unrelenting nightmare of everyone's worse traits and worse fears of how their life might turn out. It doesn't end up being completely harrowing as it's sequel "Vacant Possesion" or Patrick Mccabe's "The Dead School". But it's quite effective. The middle aged schoolteachers party near the end is a marvelous setpiece of dark humor
Sep 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Gives "Ethan Frome" a run for his money in the bleak department. And is full of ghosts, madness and quiet desperation, underlined by grim humor. This book made me cry and my heart pound, by turns.

Her writing reminds me of Virginia Woolf; silky, precise and challenging.
Aug 31, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who like A.M. Homes
Mantel is very funny but you have to appreciate black humor.
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Hilary Mantel is the bestselling author of many novels including Wolf Hall, which won the Man Booker Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award for fiction. Bring Up the Bodies, Book Two of the Thomas Cromwell Trilogy, was also awarded the Man Booker Prize and the Costa Book Award. She is also the author of A Change of Climate, A Place of Greater Safety, Eight Months on Ghazzah Street, An ...more
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Axon Family (2 books)
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“The first years were spent in cleaning Muriel, in reconciling herself to her existence. Evelyn wanted to be alone in the house; the house filled up, more than she had dreaded. After some time, Muriel began to appear sufficiently normal to be sent to school, but Evelyn was well are that she was concealing her true nature. She spoke now more like other people, though she was still both clipped and sententious. At first she had said, ‘Mother, Mother,’ and Evelyn thought it was ‘Murder’ she had called out in the dark.” 0 likes
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