Review: The Mother Fault by Kate Mildenhall

Title: The Mother Fault

Author: Kate Mildenhall

Published: 2nd September 2020, Simon & Schuster

Status: Read September 2020 courtesy Simon & Schuster

++++++

My Thoughts:

In The Mother Fault, Kate Mildenhall imagines a dystopian future for Australia. Parts of the country have been devastated by the effects of climate change, with coastal areas flooded by rising seas. Much of the land is barren, dry, and damaged from fracking. The populace is surveilled and controlled by The Department, who insist citizens be chipped from birth, ‘for their own protection and convenience’, and who relocate ‘citizens in need’ to gated communities known as ‘BestLife’.

So when Mim’s husband, Ben, who works for an mining conglomerate and regularly spends time in Indonesia, fails to return from his latest work trip, and no one can tell her where he is, Mim begins to panic. Then The Department shows up asking questions, intimating Mim and her children, 11 year-old Essie and 6 year-old Sam, should perhaps be transferred to BestLife until her husband is found. For Mim, whose eldest brother entered BestLife and died shortly after, the veiled threat prompts her to flee with her children with the idea of making their way to Indonesia, and to Ben.

The journey from suburban Victoria, through outback NSW, to the coast of Northern Territory, and then by sea to Indonesia, is fraught with risk. Mildenhall sets an urgent pace, maintaining tension and building further suspense as Mim attempts to evade The Department and cautiously reaches out for help.

Mim is a complex character, she’s not particularly confident in her decision to flee, nor really prepared to do so. She rarely thinks things through very well, and makes some reckless decisions, yet she doesn’t give up and her grit is admirable.

Like any mother in such a precarious position, Mim is particularly anxious about the safety of her children, heightened because of a history of postnatal depression which seems to have left her hypercritical of her own mothering skills. I thought Mildenhall’s portrayal of the family dynamic was relatable and interesting, and the children well drawn characters in their own right, particularly Essie.

Part dystopian, exploring a plausible future of environmental ruin and Owellian surveillance; part mystery thriller, with a dramatic and unexpected ending; all while exploring themes related to motherhood, marriage, and mental health, The Mother Fault is an intelligent and absorbing novel.

++++++

Available from Simon & Schuster

Also available from your preferred retailer via Booko I Book Depository

5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Theresa Smith Writes
    Sep 20, 2020 @ 10:19:03

    Enjoyed this review Shelleyrae, thanks! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  2. Kate W
    Sep 21, 2020 @ 00:02:07

    Despite the publicity (hype!), this one didn’t grab me initially… but so many glowing reviews 🙂 I’ve reserved it from the library.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  3. Trackback: It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #SundayPost #SundaySalon | book'd out
  4. Laurel-Rain Snow
    Sep 21, 2020 @ 02:52:07

    I must add this book to my list, even though its plausibility might actually frighten me as to events like these unfolding in the not-so-distant future. It does sound like one that would keep me glued to the pages, however. Thanks for the great review.

    Like

    Reply

  5. Helen Murdoch
    Sep 23, 2020 @ 13:13:51

    Stories of families on the run can be so tense and good.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

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