A Perfect Mother

A bracing, hypnotic story of mid-life crisis about the complexities of love, relationship and legacy from début novelist Katri Skala.


A Perfect Mother is literary fiction in the tradition of Claire Messud and Rachel Cusk – honest, multi-layered, and emotionally demanding of its reader. Katri Skala is as accomplished at weaving a compelling drama as she is at asking the big questions: what do we inherit from the broken histories of our parents and our grandparents and how does this shape our own sense of identity? Can we ever overcome the past? Are stories, the ones we are told and the ones we tell, integral to how we know each other and how we love? What does it mean to be a good parent, let alone the perfect mother? Brilliantly mixing a novel of ideas with a psychological morality tale, The Perfect Mother digs deep into the heart of these questions in a subtle intense prose.

ISBN: 9780995647848
Format: Hardback
Dimensions: 216 x 138mm
Length: 216 pages
Publication Date: 19/07/2018
Genre: Literary Fiction


A wonderfully accomplished novel…It manages to be complex and compulsively readable at the same time… It tells a story of attraction, parenthood and madness with great psychological subtlety, while also creating an unforgettable sense of place, equally at home in England and in Italy. I haven’t encountered as beautiful a portrait of Trieste and its culture in many years.

Vesna Goldsworthy, author of Gorsky, Professor of Creative Writing, University of Exeter

Katri Skala’s novel A Perfect Mother explores issues of identity and legacy against the backdrop of a city also in search of its identity. Trieste, city of Joyce, Svevo and Freud, provides a symbolic location and a metaphor for the quests of Jacob, Jane and Charlotte in their bid to make sense of their lives. It is a highly ambitious novel of ideas and a powerfully involving drama.

Derek Johns, author of the acclaimed Ariel: a literary life of Jan Morris

A Perfect Mother is a gripping read – subtle and intense, with real dramatic tension as Jacob tries to decipher the truth about Charlotte.

Trieste is delectably done, and a great locus for a book that hangs on the opposition of what’s settled, familial, bourgeois, accrues wealth; and what’s displaced and fugitive in economic, psychic, historical and racial terms.

Alison Fell, award-winning novelist and poet



About the Author

Born in France of an American mother and a Viennese father, Katri Skala has lived in the United States and across Europe. She has worked as a senior arts administrator, script editor, and literary editor in the field of new writing in Britain and the US for a range of organisations that include Channel Four, BBC, the Manhattan Theatre Club, the Arvon Foundation, the University of East Anglia, and the Writers Centre Norwich. She holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in literature and journalism from Vassar (in the US), Cardiff and the University of East Anglia. She has published short stories and magazine features. A Perfect Mother is her first novel. An extract was recently published in INK Anthology, a showcase of new writing produced for agents and publishers. She works as a mentor to writers in all genres and at all stages of their writing life.