Eighteen–year–old Mumma is pregnant and abandoned on a remote island by her respectable family. Her only company is a neighbour, a youth she calls Mister who brings offerings of fresh fish, and her only consolation is feeding her beautiful daughter Lolly on the recipes her mother taught her.
Yet in her isolation, Mumma spins a haven of light and warmth that beckons Mister (a boy who knows all about abandonment, his mother having run off years before) and allows the two of them to forge an unlikely affection. It also allows Mumma’s child, Lolly, to grow unaware of the dark secrets surrounding her.
Yet Mumma cannot protect Lolly from the world forever. At school there are plenty of people willing to point out to Lolly how eccentric her family is, and that Mister is not her real father. It’s a subject she cannot broach with her mother, any more than she can talk about the way her baby sister died at birth, and how she has always felt responsible.
Eventually, Lolly’s distress manifests in a desperate effort to exert control in the only way she can – by controlling her own body.
This richly textured novel weaves the pleasures of cooking and the freedom of daydreams into a story of a young woman’s fierce resilience, rending vulnerability, and unexpected love.
- Year of Publication: 2008
- Genre: Literature
- Audience: Adult