You will not recognise me, she thinks, when I find you…
Mim’s husband is missing. No one knows where Ben is, but everyone wants to find him – especially The Department. And they should know, the all-seeing government body has fitted the entire population with a universal tracking chip to keep them ‘safe’.
But suddenly Ben can’t be tracked. And Mim is questioned, made to surrender her passport and threatened with the unthinkable – her two children being taken into care at a notorious BestLife facility.
Cornered, Mim risks everything to go on the run to find her husband – and a part of herself, long gone, that is brave enough to tackle the journey ahead.
From the stark backroads of the Australian outback to a terrifying sea voyage, Mim is forced to shuck off who she was – mother, daughter, wife, sister – and become the woman she needs to be to save her family and herself.
I was only a couple of pages into The Mother Fault, when I realised Kate Mildenhall has created something truly special – a pacey and suspenseful page-turner that is also profoundly deep and character-driven – and though I was reading it in a room full of people, I never took my eyes off the page.
The Mother Fault is set in a not-too-distant future taken straight from an Orwellian nightmare where The Department, the all-seeing body of the Australian Government, controls all aspects of its citizens lives. The dystopian world that Mildenhall has created is so shockingly familiar it feels like it’s lying just around the corner, and it makes you pause and think long and hard about what direction we are heading towards as a society. Mildenhall explores a number of big topics in her rendition of this increasingly plausible future, such as freedom of speech, totalitarianism, surveillance, overpopulation and climate change.
While the plot is thrilling and action-packed, The Mother Fault is, at its heart, an incredibly human tale with the characters standing front and centre. Mim’s relationship with her children is pivotal to the story – from breastfeeding and sleepless nights to outrunning a totalitarian regime and taking a perilous sea voyage to Indonesia, The Mother Fault is a powerful and poignant portrayal of motherhood that asks us exactly how far a mother is willing to go to protect her children.
Compelling and unique, with prose that will dazzle and shock you in equal measure, The Mother Fault is a truly phenomenal read, and one I’ll be thinking about for quite some time.