Violaine Huisman’s remarkable debut novel is an exquisitely wrought story about a daughter’s inextinguishable love for her magnetic, mercurial mother. Translated by Leslie Camhi.

Beautiful and charismatic, Catherine, aka ‘Maman’, smokes too much, drives too fast, laughs too hard and loves too extravagantly. During a joyful and chaotic childhood in Paris, her daughter Violaine wouldn’t have it any other way. But when Maman is hospitalised after a third divorce and breakdown, everything changes.

As the story of Catherine’s own traumatic childhood and coming of age unfolds, the pieces come together to form an indelible portrait of a mother as irresistible as she is impossible, as triumphant as she is transgressive.


The 2022 International Booker Prize
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Violaine Huisman

Violaine Huisman

About the Author

Violaine Huisman was born in Paris in 1979, but has lived and worked in New York for over 20 years.
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Leslie Camhi

Leslie Camhi

About the Translator

Leslie Camhi is a New York-based essayist, cultural journalist and translator.
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I enjoyed the swagger and occasional erudition of its larger-than-life characters, and all the contradictions that give the book its vital force in French.

— Leslie Camhi, translator of The Book of Mother

Violaine Huisman’s The Book of Mother brings alive the high-drama world of Violaine and her mother, Catherine. This stark, no-holds-barred depiction of a mother-daughter relationship feels incredibly immediate, a beautiful, bold novel translated with a deceptively elegant simplicity by Leslie Camhi.

— The 2022 International Booker Prize judges