A classic tale of the relationship between a mother and her sons that changed the way world viewed this pure, pristine bonding. It has strong influences of Freud’s theory of Oedipus Complex, a phenomenon in which a son is so obsessed with his mother that he is unable to find love in his life for the simple reason that no girl can match up to his mother. It is a compelling account of the intricacies of this enigmatic relationship.
The story traces the life of Mrs. Gertrude Morel and her uncouth drunkard of a husband. Whatever lacks in their tumultuous relationship, she seeks in her sons. The eldest son pays penance by dying unfulfilled, owing to a mysterious illness. The focus then shifts to the main protagonist Paul Morel who is caught between his spiritual love for a simple village lass and his physical lust for an elder, emancipated woman, separated from her husband. Yet, contentment deserts him as his mother continues to be the most powerful, potent figure in his psyche. Until in a final act of self-preservation he allows his mother to leave this world through mercy killing.
The story is a cult classic, with its universal theme, effective use of symbolism and stream of consciousness techniques. At the same time, a very intelligent balance is maintained in portraying the subtle sexual overtones between mother and son so as not to disturb the sensibilities of the reader and yet conveying the needful. The emotions dealt with are as relevant today as they were almost a century ago. That testifies the timelessness of this masterpiece.
A must read for every mother and son and all the women who get caught in between! One would end up the wiser for it.