House Mother Normal
B S Johnson
With an introduction by poet Andrew Motion.
Eight residents in a home for the elderly sit down to dinner, along with the House Mother herself, and each takes it in turn to relay the proceedings of the evening from their own, individual perspective. By virtue of the novel’s clever structure, the reader’s comprehension of events is limited so as to allow them a powerful experience: Johnson’s humorous yet deeply compassionate depiction of what it means to live life and grow old.
In his heyday, during the 1960s and early 1970s, B. S. Johnson was one of the best-known novelists in Britain. A passionate advocate for the avant-garde, he became famous for his forthright views on the future of the novel and for his unique ways of putting them into practice. House Mother Normal: A Geriatric Comedy is Johnson’s most richly characterized, humane and sympathetic work.
Never sentimental, at once corrosive and elegiac, House Mother Normal is a remarkable achievement
New York Times
Don’t think that because Johnson took stylistic risks that he must be unapproachable