The ‘bad mother’ returns

Novelist Ayelet Waldman is bringing her ‘Love and Treasure’ to the Writers’ Festival in Jerusalem.

May 15, 2014 17:37
Ayelet Waldman

Ayelet Waldman. ‘Homework is one of the worst things you can do to a family.’. (photo credit: REENIE RASCHKE)

The world’s best bad mother, novelist Ayelet Waldman, is coming to Israel for the International Writers’ Festival, which Mishkenot Sha’ananim is hosting in Jerusalem from May 18 to 23. Her recently published novel, Love and Treasure – based on the fascinating and true story of the Hungarian Gold Train that carried jewelry and other valuable items that the Nazis had stolen from Jews – has garnered some of the best reviews of her career. She has written several previous literary novels, plus a series of mysteries called The Mommy Track Mysteries, about a young mom solving crimes.

Waldman, a mother of four and married to novelist Michael Chabon (author of The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, The Yiddish Policeman’s Union and Telegraph Avenue, among others), is also well known – some might say notorious – for her essay collection, Bad Mother: A Chronicle of Maternal Crimes, Minor Calamities, and Occasional Moments of Grace. This intensely candid and brilliant book features pieces about subjects both mundane and momentous, from her hatred of doing homework with her kids to the abortion she had when she discovered that the child she was carrying had a serious genetic problem. Several of the pieces in it – particularly an essay that ran in The New York Times “Modern Love” section, in which she wrote “I love my husband more than I love my children” – earned her savage criticism and public vilification.


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