Jo McMillan - Motherland - Hodder & Stoughton

Time remaining

  • -- days
  • -- hours
  • -- minutes
  • -- seconds
Other Formats
  • Paperback £8.99
    More information
    • ISBN:9781473612020
    • Publication date:16 Jun 2016
  • E-Book £P.O.R.
    More information
    • ISBN:9781473612013
    • Publication date:02 Jul 2015

Motherland

A Novel

By Jo McMillan

  • Hardback
  • £16.99

A charming, witty and original debut reminiscent of Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit.

Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit meets Goodbye Lenin.

'I hadn't expected the Berlin Wall to be clean and white and smooth. It looked more like the edge of the swimming baths than the edge of the Cold War. On the grass of No-man's Land, fat rabbits ate and strolled about as if they'd never been hunted and nothing could disturb them. This was their land and they ruled it, and there were three parts to Berlin: East, West and Rabbit.'

It is 1978, Jess is thirteen and she already has a reputation - as the daughter of the only communist in town. But then, it's in the blood. The Mitchells have been in the Party since the Party began. Jess and her mother Eleanor struggle to sell socialism to Tamworth - a sleepy Midlands town that just doesn't want to know.

So when Eleanor is invited to spend a summer teaching in East Germany, she and Jess leap at the chance to see what the future looks like. On the other side of the Iron Curtain they turn from villains into heroes. And when Eleanor meets widower Peter and his daughter, Martina, a new, more peaceful life seems possible.

But the Cold War has no time for love and soon the trouble starts. Peter is dispatched for two years of solidarity work in Laos. Friends become enemies, and Jess discovers how easy it is to switch sides, and how sides can be switched for you, sometimes without you even knowing.

Motherland is a tender mother-daughter story and a tragi-comic portrait of a childhood overcome with belief. It's about loss of faith and loss of innocence, and what it's like to grow up on the losing side of history.

Biographical Notes

Jo McMillan grew up in the UK and has lived and worked in China and Malaysia. She is currently based in Berlin. Motherland is her first novel.

  • Other details

  • ISBN: 9781473611993
  • Publication date: 02 Jul 2015
  • Page count: 272
  • Imprint: John Murray
Funny, smart, and packed full of all the melancholy you would expect from a novel that slowly sheds a child's innocence — Red
There's a great deal of humour in Motherland, all underpinned with a sober tone . . . Jess makes an engaging narrator — alifeinbooks
In its warm and witty portrait of offbeat mother-daughter relations, Motherland often recalls Nina Stibbe's Man At The Helm. Jess's gift for wry observations also gives rise to some wonderfully quotable lines — Lady
Motherland cuts a swathe through history without feeling like a lesson . . . Even though Motherland is full of historical detail, between 1980s Tamworth and the GDR, the oppression of the era never overwhelms. At the heart, and most important are the human relationships and which bonds survive — Emerald Street
I'm sure that these are characters (and the voice of a new novelist) that I for one will gladly revisit over and over again . . . A beautiful story tinged with fun, sadness and insight — Bookbag
A delightful tragi-comic novel, primarily about a mother/daughter relationship (hence the title) and also about coming of age and disillusionment . . . Motherland combines a teenager's cold-eyed view of adult absurdities and a wistfulness for lost certainties; a compelling blend — Historical Novel Review
A funny and poignant first novel — Daily Mail
This assured debut from Jo McMillan was a delight from start to finish; I was immediately drawn into the lives of the main characters and was sorry to get to the end. McMillan is now based in Berlin and she writes convincingly of both sides of the Cold War, she has a very distinct voice and will be a writer to watch in the future — We Love This Book
McMillan's writing is excellent; she captures brilliantly the voice of Jess, naive and committed at the start of the book, knowing and more questioning by the end. Although there's perhaps a certain irony in places in her portrayal of the various members of the counter-culture groups, she never belittles their belief and their faith in their cause . . . Motherland is McMillan's debut, and it's an excellent one - highly recommended! — Kaggsy's Bookish Ramblings
For those of us who remember how well youthful politics can entangle teenage love, this funny, sweet, sad first novel is both a delight and a glorious journey back to a time and place many of us only recall with a wry shake of the head — Stella Duffy
An ambitious coming-of-age novel from debut author Jo McMillan, which is wonderfully written and filled with quirky details and descriptions . . . A touching and poignant read, which uniquely explores this period in time in a way in which few other authors have attempted to — Herald
Genuinely funny — Socialist Worker
A touching and poignant read, which uniquely explores this period in time in a way in which few other authors have attempted to — Press Association
An ambitious coming-of-age story, filled with quirky details and descriptions — Scotsman
It's an ambitious coming-of-age novel from debut author Jo McMillan, which is wonderfully written and filled with quirky details and descriptions . . . a touching and poignant read, which uniquely explores this period in time in a way in which few other authors have attempted to — Catholic Universe
The book (sometimes very funny, sometimes desperately embarrassing and sad, always absorbing and moving) is full of her ineradicable love for her batty, determined Stalinist mother . . . I urge you to [read it] — Mail Online
Hodder & Stoughton

Gunning for Greatness: My Life

Mesut Özil
Authors:
Mesut Özil
Hodder Paperbacks

Stalin's Englishman: The Lives of Guy Burgess

Andrew Lownie
Authors:
Andrew Lownie

Andrew Cowan

Andrew Cowan was born in Corby and educated at the University of East Anglia. Pig, his first novel, won The Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award, a Betty Trask Award, the Ruth Hadden Memorial Prize, the Author`s Club First Novel Award and a Scottish Council Book Award. He is also the author of the writing guidebook The Art of Writing and three other novels: Common Ground, Crustaceans and What I Know. He is the Director of the Creative Writing programme at UEA.

Anya Seton

Anya Seton was born in New York City and grew up on her father's large estate in Cos Cob and Greenwich, Connecticut, where visiting Indians taught her Indian dancing and woodcraft. One Sioux chief called her Anutika, which means 'cloud grey eyes', a name which the family shortened to Anya. She was educated by governesses, and then travelled abroad, first to England, then to France where she hoped to become a doctor. She studied for a while at the Hotel Dieu hospital in Paris before marrying at eighteen and having three children. She began writing in 1938 with a short story sold to a newspaper syndicate and the first of her novels was published in 1941. She died in 1990.

Belinda Jones

Following ten years as a magazine journalist and travel editor, Belinda Jones began writing novels inspired by her adventures. She has travelled to over twenty-five countries and hopes to write her way around the world by the time she's done! (Now if only airlines allowed dogs to travel alongside you - at the very least they could dispose of those darn mini pretzels.)

Carolyn Parkhurst

Carolyn Parkhurst is the author of three novels: Lorelei's Secret (published in the US as The Dogs of Babel) and Lost and Found, which were both New York Times bestsellers, and The Nobodies Album. In 2010, she published her first children's book, Cooking with Henry and Elliebelly, illustrated by Dan Yaccarino. Born in New Hampshire, she lives in Washington, DC with her husband and their two children.

Catriona McPherson

Catriona McPherson was born in the village of Queensferry in south-east Scotland in 1965 and educated at Edinburgh University. She left with a PhD in Linguistics and spent a few years as a university lecturer before beginning to write fiction. The first Dandy Gilver novel was short-listed for the CWA Ellis Peters Historical Dagger 2005 and the second was long-listed for the Theakston's Crime Novel of the Year Award 2007. In 2012 DANDY GILVER AND THE PROPER TREATMENT OF BLOODSTAINS was nominated for a Historical Macavity Award. Catriona writes full-time and divides her time between southern Scotland and northern California.www.dandygilver.comwww.catrionamcpherson.comwww.twitter.com/CatrionaMcP

Chris Cleave

Chris Cleave's debut novel INCENDIARY won the Somerset Maugham Award, among others. His second, the Costa-shortlisted THE OTHER HAND, was a global bestseller and sat in the New York Times Top Ten for over a year (under the US title, Little Bee). Both books were shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers' Prizes. He lives in Kingston-upon-Thames with his wife and three children, and welcomes readers at facebook.com/ChrisCleaveBooks, www.chriscleave.com and twitter.com/chriscleave.

Chrissie Manby

Chrissie Manby is the author of twenty romantic comedies including A PROPER FAMILY HOLIDAY, THE MATCHBREAKER and SEVEN SUNNY DAYS. She has had several Sunday Times bestsellers and her novel about behaving badly after a break-up, GETTING OVER MR RIGHT, was nominated for the 2011 Melissa Nathan Award. Chrissie was raised in Gloucester, in the west of England, and now lives in London. Contrary to the popular conception of chick-lit writers, she is such a bad home-baker that her own father threatened to put her last creation on www.cakewrecks.com. She is, however, partial to white wine and shoes she can't walk in. You can follow her on Twitter @chrissiemanby, or visit her website www.chrissiemanby.co.uk to find out more.

Ciara Geraghty

Ciara Geraghty is the author of five novels: Now That I've Found You, Saving Grace, Becoming Scarlett, Finding Mr Flood and Lifesaving for Beginners. She lives in Dublin with her husband, three children and dog.You can find out more at www.ciarageraghty.com, visit her Facebook page at www.facebook.com/pages/CiaraGeraghtyBooks, or follow her on Twitter www.twitter.com/ciarageraghty.

Claire Lorrimer

Claire Lorrimer wrote her first book at the age of twelve, encouraged by her mother, the bestselling author Denise Robins. After the Second World War, during which Claire served on secret duties, she started her career as a romantic novelist under her maiden name, Patricia Robins. In 1970 she began writing her magnificent family sagas and thrillers under the name Claire Lorrimer. She is currently at work on her seventy-first book. Claire lives in Kent.

Cynthia Bond

Writer and educator Cynthia Bond has taught writing to homeless and at-risk youth throughout Los Angeles for over fifteen years.She attended Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism, then moved to New York and attended the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. Cynthia acted for many years in New York with the Negro Ensemble Company. A PEN Rosenthal Fellow, Cynthia founded the Blackbird Writing Collective in 2011.At present, Bond teaches therapeutic writing at Paradigm Malibu Adolescent Treatment Center. A native of East Texas, she lives in Los Angeles with her daughter.Ruby, an Oprah Book Club 2.0 pick, is her first novel and it was shortlisted for the 2016 Baileys' Women's Fiction prize.cynthiabond.comfacebook.com/cynthiabondrubytwitter.com/cynthiabond

Dervla Murphy

Dervla Murphy is one of the very best loved of travel writers. She was born in County Waterford and since 1964 has been regularly publishing accounts of her journeys - by bicycle and on foot - in the remoter areas of four continents. She has also written about the problems of Northern Ireland, the hazards of nuclear power and race relations in Britain. The Times Literary Supplement called her `an admirable woman - she has a romantic soul and a keen eye`.

Dreda Say Mitchell

Born and bred in the East End of London, Dreda Say Mitchell has seen it all from the inside. After a string of jobs as a waitress, chambermaid and catering assistant she realised her dream of becoming a teacher. During this time she saw a new generation of East Enders grappling with the same problems she had but in an even more violent and unforgiving world. Dreda's books are inspired by the gritty, tough and criminal world she grew up in. She still lives in London's East End. Her debut, RUNNING HOT, was published in 2004 and won the Crime Writers' Association's John Creasey Memorial Dagger Award for best first novel. She is the author of eight more novels and is currently writing the FLESH AND BLOOD series, set on 'The Devil's Estate' in Mile End. In 2016, she became a Reading Ambassador for the Reading Agency to promote literacy and libraries.Website: www.dredasaymitchell.com Facebook: /dredasaymitchell Twitter: @DredaMitchell

Elisabeth Smith

Elisabeth Smith was born and educated in Germany. She studied English at Hamburg University with a teaching career in mind, and well before EU days was offered her first assignment at a London prep school. While on contract in Africa she became sidetracked by commerce. She spent the next ten years learning about printing and publishing in Zambia before joining a publishing house in Johannesburg where she ultimately became the company's chief executive. In spite of climbing the corporate ladder she never lost her interest and skills in teaching languages. During the last 30 years she has taught French to English children, English to Zambian students, German at evening classes and Italian to her daughter "just for fun".Since moving to Spain she had to learn Spanish in a hurry - cutting across traditional learning methods. This gave her the inspiration for thehighly successful "Teach Yourself Instant..." series currently offering eight titles with a further four to be published in early 2001.Elisabeth Smith now lives in Marbella like a "proper" author with a volatile PC and two cats.

Elizabeth H. Winthrop

Elizabeth H. Winthrop was born and raised in New York City. She graduated from Harvard University in 2001 with a BA in English and American Literature and Language, and in 2004 she received her Master of Fine Arts in fiction from the University of California at Irvine. Her stories have appeared in a variety of publications including the Missouri Review and the Indiana Review. Fireworks, her first novel, was published by Sceptre in 2006, and her second, December, was a Richard and Judy Book Club pick for 2009. She lives in Massachusetts with her husband, daughter and St. Bernard.

Emma Henderson

Emma Henderson ran a ski chalet in France for several years and now lives in London. GRACE WILLIAMS SAYS IT LOUD is her first novel.

Erich Segal

Erich Segal was born in Brooklyn in 1937 and graduated from Harvard with a B.A. in 1958, followed by a Masters and a Doctorate. He first made his name as an academic writer in the field of classical literature before moving on to write the book that made him famous - LOVE STORY, which published in 1970 and went on to sell over 21 million copies worldwide - and seven other romantic bestsellers. In 1998 he was awarded the Legion d'Honneur from the French government. He was married and had two children. Erich Segal died in London in 2010.

Fredrik Backman

Fredrik Backman is a Swedish blogger, columnist and author. His debut novel A MAN CALLED OVE was a number 1 bestseller across Scandinavia, has sold over one million copies worldwide, was a Richard & Judy summer read in the UK and an instant New York Times paperback bestseller, and has been made into an acclaimed film. Fredrik's subsequent novels, MY GRANDMOTHER SENDS HER REGARDS AND APOLOGISES and BRITT-MARIE WAS HERE, also went straight to number 1 in Sweden on publication.

Geraint Anderson

Before sacrificing his soul to dark forces in the Square Mile, Cityboy was a genuine left-wing hippy and political activist, complete with ponytail and hoop earrings. His dream of becoming a global traveller was cruelly dashed when his brother got him an interview at a French bank in the City, which would set him on the rocky road to destruction and despair.