In Review

Novel of the week: Mother for Dinner by Shalom Auslander

Auslander risks offending readers with a satire about cannibals being a ‘persecuted minority’

Mother for Dinner by Shalom Auslander

Shalom Auslander’s last novel, Hope: A Tragedy, featured a “foul-mouthed and geriatric Anne Frank” among its characters, said Sam Leith in The Guardian. In his latest work, he again risks offending readers with a satire about cannibals being a “persecuted minority”. Seventh Seltzer is a New York publisher who belongs to a dwindling band of “Cannibal-Americans”. Having “married out” of his tribe, he no longer participates in family rituals. Yet when his mother summons him to her deathbed, hoping he’ll give her the traditional send-off – for which she has been fattening herself up – his cannibalistic instincts reassert themselves. 

Auslander can be a brilliantly funny writer, said Claire Lowdon in The Sunday Times. Yet as a satire on identity politics, Mother for Dinner is too removed from reality to be effective: it is seriously “overcooked”. On the contrary, its “conceit is inspired, ideally situated on the threshold between dream and reality”, said Richard Godwin in The Times. Retaining the “propulsion of true farce right to the end”, this is Auslander’s most satisfying novel yet.

Picador 272pp £16.99; The Week Bookshop £13.99

Mother for Dinner by Shalom Auslander
The Week bookshop

To order this title or any other book in print, visit theweekbookshop.co.uk, or speak to a bookseller on 020-3176 3835. Opening times: Monday to Saturday 9am-5.30pm and Sunday 10am-4pm.

Recommended

Best properties: European getaways on the market
European getaways on the market
The wish list

Best properties: European getaways on the market

July podcast picks: the Olympics, camping and children’s shows
Clockwise from top left: Anything but Footy, Blind Landing and the Natural History Museum’s Wild Crimes
In Review

July podcast picks: the Olympics, camping and children’s shows

Films of the year
A still from the movie Old
In Depth

Films of the year

Book of the week: The Premonition by Michael Lewis
A technician demonstrating how to inject a nucleic acid sample onto a disk for analysis, in a lab
In Review

Book of the week: The Premonition by Michael Lewis

Popular articles

Why your AstraZeneca vaccine may mean no European holidays
Boris Johnson receives his second dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine
Getting to grips with . . .

Why your AstraZeneca vaccine may mean no European holidays

‘Wobbling’ Moon will cause worldwide flooding, Nasa warns
Flooding in Florida after Hurricane Irma hit in 2017
Why we’re talking about . . .

‘Wobbling’ Moon will cause worldwide flooding, Nasa warns

What next as homes raided in search for Hancock affair whistle-blower?
Matt Hancock leaving No. 10 with Gina Coladangelo in May 2020
The latest on . . .

What next as homes raided in search for Hancock affair whistle-blower?

The Week Footer Banner