Mother in the Dark
by Kayla Maiuri ’16
Published by Random House (2022)
A novel about family secrets and a volatile relationship between a mother and her daughters.
When Anna’s sister calls with an urgent message, Anna doesn’t return the call. She knows it’s about their mother.
Growing up in an Italian American family in working-class Boston, Anna lives a simple but comfortable childhood–filled with homemade meals and front-porch gatherings in a close-knit neighborhood. She and her sisters are devoted to their mother, orbiting her like the sun, trying to keep up with her loving but mercurial nature. When their father gets a new job outside the city, the family is tossed unceremoniously into a middle-class suburban existence. Anna’s mother is suddenly adrift, and the darkness lurking inside her ignites. Her daughters, isolated and trapped with her in their new house, do everything they can to keep her from unraveling.
Alternating between Anna’s childhood and her twenties, when she receives a shattering call about her mother that threatens to blow up her precariously constructed life in New York, Mother in the Dark asks whether we can ever return home when the idea of home is fraught with instability. This story about sisterhood, the complications of class, and the chains of inheritance between mothers and daughters delivers an unvarnished portrayal of the fragile horrors of domestic life and a young woman consumed by her past.