How to Love Your Daughter: A Novel (Hardcover)
“A stone-cold masterwork of psychological tension. Its final pages had me holding my breath.” —Flynn Berry, New York Times Book Review
The seemingly inexplicable estrangement between a woman and her grown daughter opens up a troubling question: What damage do we do in the blindness of love?
Thousands of miles from home, a woman stands on a dark street, peeking through well-lit windows at two little girls. They are the grandchildren she’s never met, daughters of the daughter she has not seen in years.
At the center of this mesmerizing story is the woman’s quest to understand how a relationship that began in bliss—a mother besotted with her only child—arrived at a point of such unfathomable distance. Weaving back and forth in time, she unravels memories and long-buried feelings, retracing the infinite acts of parental care, each so mundane and apparently benign, that in ensemble may have undermined what she most treasured. With exquisite psychological precision, Blum traces the seemingly insignificant missteps and deceptions of family life, where it’s possible to cross the line between protectiveness and possession without even seeing it—and uncertain whether, or how, we can find our way back.
About the Author
Hila Blum is the author of the Israeli bestsellers The Visit and How to Love Your Daughter, which won the Sapir Prize. She is also a book editor. She lives in Jerusalem, where she was born and raised.
Advance praise for How to Love Your Daughter:
“A stone-cold masterwork of psychological tension. Often its sentences are deceptively clear, as transparent and menacing as a swarm of jellyfish. Elsewhere, the tone swerves into humor, even goofiness. What links the two disparate registers, and all those in between, is an unerring authenticity: Every observation, gesture and piece of dialogue rings true. . . . its intrigues and revelations are dramatic enough to be wholly satisfying. Its final pages had me holding my breath.” —Flynn Berry, New York Times Book Review
“Mesmerising, disquieting … Blum is a virtuoso at stoking unease…. [An] unforgettable book.” —Guardian
“In a similar vein as Elena Ferrante's The Lost Daughter and Sheila Heti's Motherhood, this gut-punch of a novel … [is] for anyone who’s been a daughter, a mother or both.” —PureWow
“Enthralling. . . . a novel of emotional depth and complexity, at once disturbing and enlightening.” —Hadassah Magazine
“Riveting. … Hand this one to fans of Jenny Offill or those interested in the ambiguities and incongruities of love.” —Shelf Awareness
“For all its uncanny unanswerability, this is a firmly earthbound, often beautiful, and wholly soul-stirring contemplation of parental love and the effortful, lifelong desire to see beyond the gauze of our own perceptions.” —Booklist
“Moving . . . . This one hits hard.” —Publishers Weekly
“A dissection of misapplied maternal love. . . . part detective story, part morality tale. . . . Deft.” —Kirkus Reviews
“A mother’s adoration of her only child might be commonplace, but it is never simple. Hila Blum explores one particular mother-daughter relationship with remarkable acuity. Her novel takes us on a suspenseful psychological journey as she plumbs a great mystery: how the purest maternal love can lead to the most unwanted and even disastrous consequences.” —Sigrid Nunez, author of The Friend and What Are You Going Through
“This mesmerizing, quietly harrowing novel begins with a mother’s complete estrangement from her adult daughter and works backward to reveal the ways that maternal love can strangle when it was only trying to cradle, can recklessly misdirect when it wanted to protect. Excellent and unforgettable.” —Ann Packer, author of The Children’s Crusade and The Dive from Clausen’s Pier
“A striking and memorable novel. With single-minded intensity, How to Love Your Daughter reckons with parent-child boundaries: the ones that are clear, and the ones that are sometimes hazy, or dangerously nonexistent.” —Meg Wolitzer
“Every sentence in this quiet, beautiful novel carries a great freight of emotion. Hila Blum is my new favourite writer.” —Louise Kennedy, author of Trespasses