Mothers Don't


by Katixa Agirre

July 12, 2022
Fiction | pb | 208 pgs.
5.5" x 8.5"


"Inventive in form and fearless in style, this novel makes plain how insufficient a courtroom is to hold the complexity of psychology. Agirre has given us a deeply unsettling exploration of what a mother or a woman can or cannot, should or should not do — a topic both timeless and all too timely."
—Catherine Lacey, The New York Times


A mother kills her twins. Another woman, the narrator of this story, is about to give birth. She is a writer, and she realizes that she knows the woman who committed the infanticide. An obsession is born. She takes an extended leave, not for child-rearing, but to write. To research and write about the hidden truth behind the crime.

Mothers don't write. Mothers give life. How could a woman be capable of neglecting her children? How could she kill them? Is motherhood a prison? Complete with elements of a traditional thriller, this a groundbreaking novel in which the chronicle and the essay converge. Katixa Agirre reflects on the relationship between motherhood and creativity, in dialogue with writers such as Sylvia Plath and Doris Lessing. Mothers Don't plumbs the depths of childhood and the lack of protection children face before the law. The result is a disturbing, original novel in which the author does not offer answers, but plants contradictions and discoveries.


Translated from the Spanish by Katie Whittemore


About the Author:

Katixa Agirre (Vitoria, 1981) has a PhD in Audiovisual Communication and lectures at Universidad del País Vasco. She previously published the short story collections Sua falta zaigu and Habitat, and is the author of numerous children's books: Paularen seigarren atzamarra, Ez naiz sirena bat, eta zer?, and Patzikuren problemak. She was also a columnist for Diario de Noticias de Álava, Deia, Aizu! and Argia.

About the Translator:

Katie Whittemore is graduate of the University of NH (BA), Cambridge University (M.Phil), and Middlebury College (MA), and was a 2018 Bread Loaf Translators Conference participant. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Two LinesThe Arkansas InternationalThe Common OnlineGulf Coast Magazine OnlineThe Los Angeles ReviewThe Brooklyn Rail, and InTranslation. Current projects include novels by Spanish authors Sara Mesa, Javier Serena, Aliocha Coll, Aroa Moreno Durán, Nuria Labari, Katixa Agirre, and Juan Gómez Bárcena.