Indulge, pamper, spoil... Forget it. That voucher for the cheapest available thirty-minute massage in the middle of the shopping centre? Try again. A pack of matching perfume and lotion pre-wrapped in pink ribbon that just screams ‘I made it to Myer five minutes before they closed last night’? Next. That beautiful posy you brought along to breakfast? It looks nice enough, but now it’s just crowding the table and in a few days time it’ll be dropping debris all over Mum’s kitchen bench.
What the hero woman in your life really wants is time, precious time, to sit alone and escape for a little while. Here’s what Texters are giving their mums this Mother’s Day.
Ally Scale, Administration Coordinator
I come from a long line of shameless bargain hunters so it would be remiss of me if I didn’t hit up the ‘5 for $50’ Text Classics deal for my mum this year. Mum’s genre of choice is memoir so Aunts Up The Cross by Robin Dalton and Rose Boys by Peter Rose are both a definite yes. Add to that the feel-good novel The Women in Black by Madeleine St John and two of my favourites in the Classics series: In The Memorial Room by Janet Frame and The Idea of Perfection by Kate Grenville. What a handsome set these five will make!
Michelle Calligaro, Digital Manager
When I first heard there was a new collection from Helen Garner on the way, I decided it was finally time to read her earlier collection, True Stories, which had been on my to-do list forever. And I’m so glad I did. In her intimate and deceptively simple way, she talks about family, growing up, teaching, art, births, deaths, marriages—which makes it, perhaps, sound a bit affected, but it never, ever is. I particularly loved the way she talks about family and her interactions with her sisters. It made me want to sit down with my own and spend some time with them. Her voice is strong and clear, without sentiment, yet it makes you feel deeply connected. This is a collection to cherish and I will definitely be putting it in the post to mum, and perhaps my sisters (who are also both mums), this Mother’s Day.
David Winter, Senior Editor
I always give my mother flowers on Mother’s Day, and so should you, but soon the petals on those overpriced clippings will wilt, the leaves will brown and curl, and there will be irritating water stains left on the dining table. To make up for the impending disappointment of the flowers, and to prove that you really do love your mother, you should get her some books. Have you given her One Life by Kate Grenville yet? If not, what are you waiting for? There’s a nifty little paperback edition of this perfect Mother’s Day gift out now. The new Text Classic Take Me to Paris, Johnny, by John Foster, may cause a sob or two in a Kleenex, as it has in the office—make sure mum doesn’t start it before you go to that excruciating lunch at the not-very-great waterside restaurant, along with all the other happy families—but it’s a work of understated brilliance, an elegant and affecting ode to a lost love, so it’s sure to be a winner in the long run. Speaking of winners: Helen Garner’s new collection, Everywhere I Look, is a must-have. Or get your mum acquainted with the novels of Toni Jordan, who’s always smart and funny, and whose new book, Our Tiny, Useless Hearts, has a title to make Hallmark shiver and has the Text crew excited. If all else fails at this time of year, I mine the Text backlist for gems: Madeleine St John’s lovely The Women in Black, Jim Dodge’s little Fup, anything by Shane Maloney.
Jane Novak, Publicity Manager
My mother is a huge Helen Garner fan so I will be in serious trouble if I don’t give her the latest essay collection, Everywhere I Look. But I’m also going to give her Barbara Baynton’s Bush Studies, a Text Classic for which Helen wrote the introduction. This extraordinary collection of short stories was originally published almost a hundred years ago and I’ve never read anything else that manages to illustrate the great terror and isolation that women felt living in the bush in those times. Forget the romanticism of Henry Lawson, Barbara Baynton tells it like it really was. I’m very grateful to both Helen and the Text Classics for bringing this unforgettable book back to life.
Alice Cottrell, Rights & Administration
My mum has already devoured Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan novels so I’ll be giving her Ferrante’s three wonderful novellas, The Lost Daughter, The Days of Abandonment and Troubling Love. The novellas are scorching meditations on motherhood, marriage and grief, so I think I’ll also include A Dog Named Jimmy by Rafael Mantesso for some light relief.
Shalini Kunahlan, Marketing Coordinator
I’m pre-ordering my mother a copy of Geoff Dyer’s White Sands, out in July, to fuel her flamboyant travel aspirations. Since retiring (after teaching for twenty-five years), she’s effortlessly stepped into a busy and colourful life replete with social work, chinese-banquet dinners with old friends and dragging my reluctant father around to places like Japan and Brazil (poor him). What is it with fiery irreverent women who challenge idiotic assumptions about the restrictions of age? She’s getting a copy of Helen Garner’s Everywhere I Look, to reinforce a necessary lesson or two. And for a pure, rich, literary experience, she is getting a copy of Ágota Kristóf’s The Notebook Trilogy—one of our groundbreaking literary discoveries of 2016.
Léa Antigny, Publicist
I reckon mums know a thing or two about feeling tired, and you know what I think is the most tiresome thing in the world? The ongoing argument about whether or not adults should be reading YA or children’s literature. There’s a chance I think that’s the most tiresome thing ‘in the world’ because I have not in fact given birth to and raised an entire human person, but the point is, this year I’m sending Mum The War that Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley. This lovely book is reminiscent of the truly great children’s classics. It’s also published a week after Mother’s Day, and I’ve spent twenty-seven years being late, so I’m not about to change now. While I’m feeling nostalgic, I’m also sending the beautiful little hardback My Relations by Robin Dalton, written when the author was just eight years old. Mum has saved the first story I ever wrote (Once upon a time there was a red hen. The end) and given that’s the bar in our house for young girl storytellers, I think she’ll take enormous pleasure in the wild imagination on display here.