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Reviews of Mother London (1988)

Review by mwisse (2003-03-10)
A mainstream novel by Michael Moorcock, who is better known as a science fiction and fantasy writer. Mother London is a magic-realistic account of life in London, jumping back and forth in time and told through the eyes of Josef Kiss, Mary Gasalee and David Mummery, three people with a special bond. All three have spend time in various mental hospitals, having first met in one of them just after the war, though their paths had crossed before. All three have the same ability to hear the thoughts of others, but since all three are not entirely mentally stable, it's unsure how much of it is real.

All three their lives revolve around the Blitz and London during the war years. Kiss was able to use his mindreading to find people buried under bomed houses, Mummery grew up in the ruins and Gasalee went in a coma when a bomb hit her house and killed her husband. These experiences colour the rest of their lives and are the red thread running through the novel.

The book is divided in six parts and layed out symmetrically: the first part is echoed backwards in the last part, the second part in the fifth part and the third part in the fourth path. At first, the chapters within these parts seem more like independent anecdotes or short stories, but gradually a pattern emerges.

There's no real plot, this is a character novel and the character being examined is as much London itself as it is any of the three main protagonists. A very interesting and well succeeded experiment, in my opinion.

(Taken from my booklog at

Martin Wisse

©Steven Jeffery /, 2017
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