New Fiction: everybody’s Son – Thrity Umrigar

This is bestselling author and book-club favorite Umrigar’s best book in years. Moving from her usual focus on immigrant and Indian-American experience, this new novel looks at America’s fraught class and race relationships by exploring the story of a young black boy adopted by affluent, influential white parents.

Nine-year old Anton becomes a front-page story when he is found locked in an apartment and seemingly abandoned by his crack addicted mother. David Coleman is a judge and the son of a U.S. Senator looking to fill a void after the death of his son five years ago. He and his wife take in Anton, and though the boy misses his mother, he flourishes.

Anton is eventually adopted by the Colemans and seems to be living the American Dream—complete with a Harvard education and an eventual career as a State’s Attorney General. But the worm at the heart of the story is that years before David used his influence to ensure that Anton’s mother got a long prison sentence and pressured her to relinquish her parental rights. When Anton discovers this is world is again upended. It’s a wrenching read about the nuanced, morally compromised decisions we make in the name of love and “higher good.”

A Boston Globe review has already been assigned and Umrigar will be interviewed by Scott Simon on NPR’s Weekend Edition.

When nine-year-old Anton first enters foster care, he still believes his mother is coming back for him. However, his new foster father, David Coleman, hopes she stays away for a long time…. David rationalizes that if he must do something dishonest to keep the boy, it is only because he wants to protect him and give him a better life…. But when the secrets of his past are finally revealed, Anton’s identity is shaken to the core. Jarring and beautiful, Umrigar’s novel examines complex social issues with brutal honesty, but also creates accessible characters with relatable motives, reminding us of the deep-seated racism that exists even in the places we don’t think to look.”
Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“[Umrigar’s] focus has always been on the Indian and Indian American experience, but here she crosses borders to examine tough and timely issues concerning a black family, a white family, and our children today.”
— Library Journal

“[An] uncompromising in its portrayal of what power reveals about those who wield it.”
   — Booklist

Everybody’s Son (9780062442246) by Thrity Umrigar. $26.99 hardcover. 6/6/17 on sale.

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