Phillip Lopate is a central figure in the resurgence of the
American essay, both through his best-selling anthology The Art
of the Personal Essay and his collections, Bachelorhood,
Against Joie de Vivre, Portrait of My Body, Portrait Inside My
Head and To Show and to Tell: The Craft of Literary
Nonfiction. He directs the nonfiction MFA program at Columbia
University, where he is Professor of Writing.
"A Mother's Tale shines with pain and laughter. . . .
Lopate's book is an antisentimental tour de force."--Benjamin
Taylor, author of Proust: The Search
"A Mother's Tale is a nonfiction book that gives Frances a lot of time in the spotlight. . . . Lopate's mother was a 'monologist' who understood the power of narrative, and a person who could captivate and frustrate any audience who was willing to listen to her." --Michele Filgate, Barnes & Noble Review
"[A] fascinating and deftly constructed book." --Jerald Walker, The New York Times Book Review
"By offering readers a candid portrait of his mother, Lopate manages precisely what he must: he takes a personal story and turns it outward, and in doing so, he makes it our story, too." --B. J. Hollar, The Los Angeles Review
"Lopate, who's made a life out of language, listens back to the woman who first taught him to speak." --Hayden Bennett, San Francisco Chronicle
"Lucky for us, the cassettes collected dust in a shoebox in the closet until he was ready to write this entertaining and moving book, which is equal parts reflection, reconstruction, police interrogation, psychiatric evaluation, and, ultimately, tribute to his mother." --Annabelle Gurwitch, Los Angeles Review of Books
"The gravitational pull of the child toward the mother is so powerful that it persists even in the face of cruelty or neglect. What is finally most affecting about this book is not Frances's story but her son's pained efforts to confront it." --Ruth Franklin, The New York Review of Books