Being a parent is not glamorous. It’s hard work and it often goes unappreciated – in life and in fiction. 

When we do see parents represented in our fiction, we tend to see a very limited kind of representation. Rarely are parents the centre of the story – the prevailing social narrative is that parents don’t have grand adventures, they aren’t exciting people anymore. What possible stories could they tell?

We wanted to dive into the idea of parenthood as seen particularly through genre fiction – the kinds of roles they are given, how they are portrayed, and the difference in representation of mothers and fathers.

To help us explore this topic is Julia Fine, whose novels both explore parenthood – from different perspectives and genders!

The Upstairs House by Julia Fine

The Upstairs House is out now.

Texts mentioned in this episode include:

  • Aliens
  • Snow White
  • Game of Thrones
  • Rosemary’s Baby
  • The Midwich Cuckoos by John Wyndham
  • The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
  • The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
  • The Fifth Child by Doris Lessing
  • Hannibal (film)

Julia Fine

Julia Fine is the author of The Upstairs House and What Should Be Wild, which was shortlisted for the Bram Stoker Superior First Novel Award and the Chicago Review of Books Award. She teaches writing in Chicago, where she lives with her husband and children.