Unwillingly, my first Bataille novel was his last. I was eager to read some of his work, until recently I decided to venture blindly into Ma Mère. As I took notice in the introduction, this novel, being his last, is unfinished. Of course, the absent ending leaves a bitter taste, but nevertheless I thought I might enjoy it.
After the death of his Father, Pierre lives alone with his Mother. She’s a hopeless drunkard, with vicious passion for erotic love, and pleasures of life. Pierre, who narrates this tale, loves his Mother unconditionally unknowingly of her facade. It’s only after his Father’s death that she reveals her true self to Pierre and commences to drag him into that same decadent lifestyle. Pierre, with a religious education, repulses with repugnance this lifestyle. But forced by his Mother, he ends up morphing into her.
Being ignorant of Bataille’s bibliography, and only having a bare knowledge that Bataille tended to wander into the erotic and immoral, I was expecting everything from this book. And, in fact, it’s an erotic and immoral novel, but not solely. Having read it mainly in a winter night, I couldn’t help myself plunging into the morose ambient of the novel. And this is the novel’s strongest attribute, its atmosphere. In midst of alcohol and erogeneity, the characters of the tale fall into a hallucination, where in certain passages, time and space vanish. The feverish narration envelops the reader, and while most dialogues are delirious mumble, one can’t cease joining this state of mind.
As I read it, I felt just as watching a David Lynch movie, where the first time you watch it, you can solely grasp that feeling there’s to it. As for an interpretation (assuming there’s one), I’ll have to re-read it. But for now I can only speak of its atmosphere. And in spite its stifling dementia ambience, somehow it’s strangely appealing. Bataille’s novel is incredibly beautiful in all its debauched morals. Its rawness may avert some readers, but for those with a strong tolerance, I recommend it vividly.