Stories to Hide from Your Mother is a collection of fourteen tales that tell ugly and uncomfortable truths about love, sex, death and cannibalism with a wry smile. The stories are interconnected loosely by theme—aspects of the erotic from the mundane to the ludicrous; and by voice—a detached, dispassionate urban narrative, more interested in the secrets and bizarre psychology of the characters, than in their permanent press facades.
In Peanut Butter, Figs and Swollen Lips, a woman fantasizes about perfect teenage love with a boy she sees daily on a bus. In Some Distinguishing Mark, which was adapted for the Showcase series, “Bliss,” a woman involved with a married man is visited in her dreams by the man’s wife, who wreaks her vengeance through rough, nightmarish sex that leaves real bruises in the morning. In Tatterdemalion Bride, all hell breaks loose during a church wedding where the two families hate each other and the bride shows up in a cut up dress, revealing a surprising tattoo to the congregation. In How to Pick Up Women, a bisexual woman goes to a lesbian bar by herself and immediately realizes that she has neither the verbal nor body language skills to communicate in a world of women. In Hair in the Mousetrap, a young girl’s sexuality is defined by her mother’s mores, her grandmother’s superstitions and by the constant presence of vermin in her life.
Stories to Hide from Your Mother are about double lives, strange desires, and dangerous secrets that you would only tell to strangers on trains, that you would read with a flashlight under your covers late at night, that you would smile about to yourself, but never, ever reveal. There are some things your mother just doesn’t need to know.
What the critics said:
“In superb control of her material, with gorgeous, stirring and intelligent language, Fragoulis has made an impressive debut.”
– Montreal Review of Books
“[Fragoulis’] stories move off into desires and longings of uncomfortable places. They shift into unusual directions but are written in tight, fierce and alluring prose. Her stories, in this collection, are sensual and unforgiving, while at the same time searching for forgiveness, whether outside or of the self.”
– Ottawa X Press
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