Mothers— both reluctant and euphoric — ride the familial tide of joy, pride, regret, guilt, and love in these stories of resilient and flawed women. In a battle between a teenage daughter and her mother, wheat bread and plain yogurt become weapons. An aimless college student, married to her much older professor, sneaks cigarettes while caring for their newborn son. On the eve of her husband’s fiftieth birthday, a pilfered fifth of vodka, an unexpected tattoo, and rogue teenagers leave a woman questioning her place. And in a suite of stories, we follow capricious, ambitious single mother Ruby and her cautious, steadfast daughter Nora through their tumultuous life—stray men, stray cats, and psychedelic drugs—in 1970s California.
It seems when I read a particularly well crafted collection of short stories that I am somehow getting more bang for my buck. Beyond the standard plotting of a novel, there is the reward of multiple (and complete) intense little morsels to savor. And the fresh hope of discovery that comes at the beginning of each tale is rarely met with disappointment in this volume. The continuing thread of Ruby & Nora dominate the pages, but don't be fooled - these are glimpses into the lives of mother and daughter and not a novella of sorts. Serber has not shied away from any of the ugly realities of life - her characters are observant, sometimes awkward, always honest (at least in their thoughts). At times their gritty truths made me squirm and not from vulgarity, but from the most ordinary details laid bare. It is a credit to Serber that her writing appears effortless, although I know it cannot be true I still admire the result.
You can learn more about the author at her website: http://www.natalieserber.com
And here is a sample of her writing from the site Culinate.