I’m very excited to read The Lost Mother, the new book by Anne Summers, which I discussed with her in its early stages of development. Anne worked furiously on the book throughout 2008 and it’s wonderful to see her receiving so much attention for this new work. Being in New York at the moment I am far from getting my hands on a copy, unfortunately. But from speaking with Anne when she was visiting recently, I learned that her publisher, Melbourne University Press, has done an outstanding job in terms of the book’s production values – colour plates and everything. I’m always delighted to share anecdotes of positive treatment by publishers of their authors, as an author who has been treated with kid gloves by UQP.
The Lost Mother is about Anne Summers’ relationship with her mother, told through her search for a lost painting of her mother as a child. After her mother’s death in 2005, Anne inherits a portrait of her mother as a child. Mesmerized by this image, she finds herself drawn into the story of how the portrait was painted and eventually found its way into her family. She soon learns the artist painted another portrait of her mother; this time as the Madonna. Anne’s search for the Madonna painting and the mysterious Russian Ã©migrÃ© collector who bought both paintings takes her down unexpected paths. Her search soon turns into a parallel quest to rescue Constance Stokes, the artist, from obscurity, and to learn why the collector suddenly abandoned the paintings. Along the way Anne finds she must face the truth of the relationship she had with her mother.
Anne Summers is an important writer and commentator. She’s the author of several books including Damned Whores and God’s Police, Ducks on the Pond and The End of Equality. She has edited the landmark American feminist magazine Ms. and Good Weekend and these days writes for several publications. She has been an advisor to two Australian prime ministers and chaired the Board of Greenpeace International for many years.