"Tender and unsparing, this is a novel to hold onto." —Crystal Hana Kim, author of If You Leave Me

“A masterfully written novel, alive and lyrical, a hypnotic rendering of the mess and the tenderness of family life.”
—Claire Lombardo, author of The Most Fun We Ever Had

 
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 working class Boston in an Italian American family, Anna’s childhood was sparse but comfortable—filled with homemade pasta sauce and a close-knit neighborhood. Anna and her sisters are devoted to their mother, orbiting her like the sun, trying to keep up with her loving but mercurial nature as she bounces between tenderness and bitterness.
 
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 expands until it threatens to explode. Her daughters, trapped with her in the new house, isolated, must do everything they can to keep her from unraveling.
 
Alternating between childhood and Anna’s twenties, when she receives a shattering call about her mother that threatens to blow up her own precariously constructed life in New York, Mother in the Dark asks whether we can ever really go back home when the idea of home is so unstable. Whether we can escape that instability or accept that our personalities are built around the defenses we put up. Maiuri is a master at revealing the fragile horrors of domestic family life and how the traumas of the past shape the present and generations of women.
 
A story about sisterhood, the complications of class, and the chains of inheritance between mothers and daughters, Mother in the Dark delivers an unvarnished portrayal of a young woman consumed by her past and a family teetering on the edge of a knife.
Praise for Mother In the Dark

“This is a masterfully written novel, alive and lyrical, a hypnotic rendering of the mess and the tenderness of family life.”
—Claire Lombardo, author of The Most Fun We Ever Had
 
"I was deeply moved by this book about motherhood, sisterhood, and friendship; about love that wounds and sorrow that shapes a life; about the pleasure and strain of a home. A stunning novel by a percipient and generous author."
—Ayşegül Savaş, author of White on White

"I loved every sentence of this exquisite debut. Kayla Maiuri’s writing pulses with emotion and wisdom; it cuts deeply and swells to an ending that moved me to tears. Mother in the Dark is one of those rare novels that will stay with you for a very long time.” —Sanaë Lemoine, author of The Margot Affair

"Beautifully, tenderly written and unsparing in its willingness to engage with all the ways that love and hurt are always and impossibly linked, Kayla Maiuri's Mother in the Dark is an evocative exploration of how we are both haunted and sustained by the people and the places that we're from." —Lynn Steger Strong, author of Want

"A gorgeous novel with profound insights into what keeps a family together and what it takes to shake off the stranglehold of the past, Mother in the Dark casts a riveting spell. You will relish every word.” —Daniel Loedel, author of Hades, Argentina
 
"Ferocious and fragile, Mother in the Dark delivers a haunting story of the complex binds between mother and daughter, and how uniquely we are shaped by our families. Tender and unsparing, this is a novel to hold onto." —Crystal Hana Kim, author of If You Leave Me
 
"There is much to admire in this beautifully written, unsentimental, deeply knowing novel. Maiuri is wise beyond her years, and fearless in her exploration of the ways that mothers and daughters are uniquely equipped to hurt each other." —Elissa Schappell, author of Blueprints for Building Better Girls
 
"Kayla Maiuri has written a freshly imagined, emotionally precise novel. Here is an honest book rich in detail and empathy. Here is an exciting new voice in fiction." —Sam Lipsyte, author of The Fun Parts and The Ask