Seventh Seltzer has done everything he can to break from the past, but in his overbearing, narcissistic mother's last moments he is drawn back into the life he left behind. At her deathbed, she whispers in his ear the two words he always knew she would: "Eat me."
... splenetic riffs on the ingrained human need to search for meaning in ancient customs, no matter how repugnant they are ... The jokes are dependably good ... If Mother for Dinner tickled me less than Hope: A Tragedy it’s partly because its scenes are so physically revolting ... I’m not sure if this will offend pieties or just turn stomachs.
In his latest novel, Auslander...uses his signature dark humor to brilliantly satirize tribalism in America with the story of the Seltzers, a dysfunctional group of 12 siblings attending to the death and disposal of their mother. What makes them unique is the fact that they are Cannibals ... Graphic situations abound; even the characters are revolted, while, through their often ludicrous stories, Auslander explores the sense of otherness and the value of diversity. This could be a portrait of any ethnic group that has been consumed by America, though, in this case, it’s unclear who is devouring whom.
Auslander...turns his taboo-shattering satiric gaze to cannibalism in this outrageous, salty take on contemporary culture ... The bilious narrative trips along its grotesque way ... While Auslander harps a bit more than necessary on the alternately constricting and comforting 'boxes' of identity, and Seventh’s misanthropic epiphany about human nature is a tad facile, more effective is the riotous dissection of cultural formation and a community’s hunger for meaning. Auslander soars in enough places to make this worth the price of admission.