Novelist Amy Bloom Joins Slate’s Book Club To Discuss The Good Mother

Discussing new and classic works.
Dec. 8 2011 11:30 AM

The Good Mother

Novelist Amy Bloom is our special guest for a discussion of Sue Miller’s 25-year-old novel about a devastating custody battle.

Sue Miller.
Sue Miller

Photograph by Debi Milligan/Bloomsbury Publishing.

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This month, one of our favorite novelists, Amy Bloom, joins us to talk about a 25-year-old cultural touchstone: Sue Miller’s The Good Mother. When Miller’s book was published in 1986, it won glowing reviews and prompted a national conversation about divorce, child custody, and sexual awakening. The novel’s protagonist, Ann Dunlap, gets divorced and finds love and lust with her artist boyfriend, Leo. Her ex-husband challenges Anna for custody of their 3-year-old daughter because of what he sees as sexual abuse and what Anna and Leo see as a fleeting and harmless mistake. The book’s resolution was shocking and dismaying at the time. Does it still read that way? How relevant does the novel feel today, and what do we make of Anna as a mother and a character? (Hint: Bloom is convincingly impatient with her.)

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We’ll announce the book for our next Audio Book Club soon. You can also listen to any of our previous club meetings through our iTunes feed or by clicking on the links below. To download the MP3 file, right-click (Windows) or hold down the Control key while you click (Mac), and then use the "save" or "download" command to save the audio file to your hard drive.

This Beautiful Life, by Helen Schulman
The Submission, by Amy Waldman
A Visit from the Goon Squad, by Jennifer Egan
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, by J.K. Rowling
Caleb's Crossing, by Geraldine Brooks
The Killer Angels, by Michael Shaara
Moonwalking With Einstein, by Joshua Foer
Swamplandia!, by Karen Russell
Room, by Emma Donoghue
Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, by Amy Chua
Madame Bovary, by Gustave Flaubert
Lord of Misrule, by Jaimy Gordon
Remainder, by Tom McCarthy
Great House, by Nicole Krauss
Freedom, by Jonathan Franzen
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, by Rebecca Skloot
Super Sad Love Story, by Gary Shteyngart
The Imperfectionists, by Tom Rachman
Imperial Bedrooms, by Bret Easton Ellis
Reality Hunger, by David Shields
To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
The Big Short, by Michael Lewis
Wolf Hall, by Hilary Mantel
White Noise, by Don DeLillo
Lit, by Mary Karr
The Original of Laura, by Vladimir Nabokov
"A Small Good Thing" and "The Bath," by Raymond Carver
The Anthologist, by Nicholson Baker
The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
A Vindication of Love, by Cristina Nehring
Thy Neighbor's Wife, by Gay Talese
"The Swimmer," by John Cheever, and "A Good Man Is Hard To Find," by Flannery O'Connor
Atmospheric Disturbances, by Rivka Galchen
Infinite Jest, by David Foster Wallace
Rabbit, Run, by John Updike
The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Night of the Gun, by David Carr
American Wife, by Curtis Sittenfeld
Brideshead Revisited, by Evelyn Waugh
Netherland, by Joseph O'Neill
Anna Karenina, by Leo Tolstoy
Beautiful Children, by Charles Bock
All the King's Men, by Robert Penn Warren
Eat, Pray, Love, by Elizabeth Gilbert
Tree of Smoke, by Denis Johnson
The Audacity of Hope, by Barack Obama
The Road, by Cormac McCarthy
The House of Mirth, by Edith Wharton
Independence Day, by Richard Ford
The Emperor's Children, by Claire Messud
The Omnivore's Dilemma, by Michael Pollan
Beloved, by Toni Morrison
Everyman, by Philip Roth
Saturday, by Ian McEwan
The Year of Magical Thinking, by Joan Didion

Questions? Comments? Write to us at podcasts@slate.com. (Emailers may be quoted by name unless they request otherwise.)

Emily Bazelon is a staff writer at the New York Times Magazine and the author of Sticks and Stones

Hanna Rosin is the founder of DoubleX and a writer for the Atlantic. She is also the author of The End of Men. Follow her on Twitter.

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