All posts tagged: adoption

Searingly Sharp Novel-in-short-stories about scandal, secrets, relationships, a teen pregnancy, IF THE ICE HAD HELD Wendy J. Fox talks about exposing motivations, artful intimacy, writing contests, more

By Leslie Lindsay  A web of intersecting lives–often dysfunctional and unusual–told in a hauntingly intimate prose with insight and empathy. ~FICTION FRIDAY|ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~ When this book came to my attention, I knew I had to read it. IF THE ICE HAD HELD (April 2019, winner of the Santa Fe Literary Press Award), is a gorgeously told web of intersecting lives told in a taut, lyrical prose about disillusionments, deceptions, relationships, motherhood, and so much more. Melanie Henderson is a 35-year old professional living and working in Denver. She dabbles in affairs with married men, but still hasn’t learned that the woman who raised her is actually her aunt. But that’s only the tip of the ice berg. Told from seven different POVs over three decades, and thirty-seven chapters, Melanie only receives sixteen of them. So who are these other people and how do they fit into Melanie’s narrative? I really enjoyed this structure, but can see how others might find it frustrating and confusing–there are a good deal of threads to maintain and …

Lee Matalone on her razor-sharp, elegant debut, HOME MAKING, about identity, belonging, mother-daughter relationships, her love of architecture, how she never intended to write a novel, and the importance of the line

By Leslie Lindsay  An elegant, perceptive, yet powerful debut about what it means to belong, to search for self within the constructs of a home. ~WEDNESDAYS WITH WRITERS| ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~ HOME MAKING: A Novel by Lee Matalone (HarperPerennial, Feb 18 2020) is such an intangible kind of read–it’s not fully a novel, not fully a memoir, but somewhere between. And I really loved this hybrid-like approach. It’s told in first person and doesn’t exactly follow the traditional arc of fiction, but it more meditative, quiet, introspective like one might expect of a memoir. Having said all that, this is a work of fiction (of course, like all good fiction, it’s often mined from the ‘real-life’ of the author’s experiences). The story starts off with a Japanese woman who runs away with a French man, becomes pregnant, then puts the baby up for adoption.That baby is adopted by an American family leaves Japan, and is raised with her adoptive family in Tucson, Arizona. This little girl (Cybil) grows up to become an ob/gyn, delivering babies while her own, a daughter (Chloe), …

Emma Sloley talks about how it’s difficult for humans to escape their own nature, how Margaret Atwood influences, plus pastoral ideas and more in DISASTER’S CHILDREN

By Leslie Lindsay The deterioration of the natural world and a coming-of-age story set in the very near not-so-distant future.  In her prescient debut, DISASTER’S CHILDREN (Little A; November 5, 2019),  Emma Sloley seamlessly weaves together an apocalyptic novel with cultural commentary to producing a memorable narrative both searing and tender. Raised in a privileged community of ultra-wealthy survivalists on an idyllic, self-sustaining Oregon ranch, Marlo has always been insulated. The outside world, which the ranchers nickname “The Disaster,” is ravaged by environmental suffering and situated precariously on the brink of global catastrophe. There are stunning modern homes, clear skies and abundant flora. Everyone’s happy because they have a shared agreement to disengage from news and politics, abstaining from information and the internet, instead investing in the development of their own exclusive society. Can it outlast impending destruction in the world beyond? But Marlo has long been intrigued by the chaos and opportunity beyond the confines of her picturesque community,  fueled by occasional trips to major cities and correspondence with her two childhood best friends, who have …

What if you were 16 and just learned you were born without a uterus? That’s what happened to Susan Rudnick–here she talks about this and more in her memoir about her disabled sister, EDNA’S GIFT

By Leslie Lindsay Moving memoir about two sisters–both of whom are struggling with a loss–connect and remain whole.  When they were young, Susan and Edna, were inseparable. Growing up in the 1950s-1960s New York, they were the children of Nazi refugee parents, and became one another’s first friend. Fiercely dedicated and loyal, they protected one another. Both girls are operating on some sort of deficit–that is, Susan had no uterus (though she didn’t know this until she was nearly 16) and Edna struggles with physical and mental challenges.  When Edna is sent to live at a community for other like-minded individuals, Susan began grappling with the fact that she would never menstruate, never give birth. Yet, through their intertwining relationship, Edna becomes Susan’s biggest advocate, her best teacher –reminding her sister, that if you just remain open to opportunities, strength, joy, and wisdom just might be the end result. EDNA’S GIFT (She Writes Press, June 4 2019) is about living a life without regrets.  Edna’s Gift is an honest, unwavering love story between two sisters—one of which has developmental delays. Rudnick’s writing had me …

What if you adopted a little girl…and then took in her homeless parents for awhile? That’s what happened with Vanessa McGrady in ROCK NEEDS RIVER

By Leslie Lindsay Released just this week, ROCK NEEDS RIVER (Little A, February 5 2019), Vanessa McGrady takes us on a journey through the very open adoption of her daughter, Grace, and what happens when her biological parents need shelter, too.  “How can you repay a priceless debt? When my daughter’s birth parents became homeless, I impulsively invited them to stay with us, without clearly thinking it through. It was wonderful in some ways, terrible in others, and continues to be a roller-coaster of love, truth, and loyalty. This is our story.” Here, Vanessa McGrady shares her top nine books on adoption. Some are memoir, others poetic; some for children, others written by same-sex partners, and some are down-right humorous.  Please join us. Books on Adoption By Vanessa McGrady Every major hero/ine’s journey and epic tale has an adoption component. From Bible stories and Greek myths (adoption worked out well for Moses, not so much for Oedipus) to Star Wars through This Is Us, we humans are obsessed with origin stories. And it’s no wonder: …

Wednesdays with Writers: Sheena Kamal talks about her fierce, ‘difficult woman’ character, Nora Watts, gender violence, the ‘red market,’ how this is a different kind of missing girl thriller, mining in Vancouver, and so much more in her debut, THE LOST ONES

By Leslie Lindsay  Dark, Edgy, psychological suspense debut, the first in a series featuring a brilliant, fearless, slightly chaotic and deeply flawed heroine much like Lisbeth Salander. Nora Watts: deeply troubled, edgy and dark yet clear and distinct; she’s complex, disturbed, and not one you’ll easily forget. Residing somewhere between DEAR DAUGHTER (Elizabeth Little) and THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO (Stieg Larsson) meets THE GATES OF EVANGELINE (Hester Young), Sheena Kamal’s debut, THE LOST ONES (William Morrow, July 25 2017) will toss your into a tailspin of controversy, conflict, and a good amount of action intermingling with psychological suspense. Nora Watts receives a phone call early in the morning. A girl has gone missing. She’s a P.I. assistant and so this isn’t entirely out of the realm. But the girl is also happens to be the baby she gave up for adoption fifteen years ago. She never wanted that baby; and now the police are labeling the girl a chronic runaway. Her adoptive parents are desperate and so they’ve hired Ms. Watts. Do they …

Wednesdays with Writers: Lisa Ko talks about her stunning debut, THE LEAVERS, what it means to be restless & stubborn & independent, how music provides a sense of identity, cultures, reinvention and so much more

By Leslie Lindsay  THE LEAVERS is at first a story of immigration/deportation, social justice, adoption, but it is so much more: it’s about heart, family, culture, and dare I say: required reading.  It’s hard to believe Lisa Ko’s THE LEAVERS (May 2, Algonquin Books) is a debut. It’s eloquently crafted, well-researched, and absolutely beautifully executed. In fact, Lisa is the latest winner of the PEN/Bellwether Prize for Fiction, awarded by Barbara Kingsolver to a novel that addresses contemporary issues of social justice. Timely, topical…and oh, so emotionally rich, it’s really hard to categorize THE LEAVERS–but ultimately, it’s darn good fiction with well-developed, fully dimensional characters; I loved every one of them and for different reasons. Deming Guo’s mother, Polly (Peilan), an undocumented Chinese immigrant, fails to come home from work (a nail salon) one day, and he’s left on his own. He’s eleven. (On a personal note, I have 10 and 12 year old daughters–I couldn’t imagine!). He’s in limbo for awhile while family friends decide what’s best for him. Deming is eventually adopted by ‘older’ …

Wednesdays with Writers: Family Secrets, dark mysterious English Forests, Battered Cardigans, ‘The Crown,’ Roman Remains, and so much more in Kate Hamer’s next novel, THE DOLL FUNERAL

By Leslie Lindsay  After reading Hamer’s 2016 bestselling debut, THE GIRL IN THE RED COAT, I was eager to get my hands on her forthcoming title, THE DOLL FUNERAL (due out February 16 2017 by Faber & Faber). Ms. Hamer indicates she’s, “Mostly completely happy, but write dark,” and yes, that’s exactly how THE DOLL FUNERAL reads, a little slice of mirth mixed with darkness. Plus, isn’t that cover (and title!) just deliciously creepy?! There’s a lot going on in THE DOLL FUNERAL, and Hamer’s writing is so poetic, so poised, and yet so imaginative; for that reason, I adored reading her words. She’s truly a gifted writer.  Plot-wise the story is quite simple: 13-year old girl learns she’s adopted and goes on search for her ‘real family.’ Alternating between Ruby in present-day (1983) and also her birth year (1970), the two timelines are braided together in a mostly first-person POV. Note: most of the story is told from 13-year old Ruby’s POV, but she is highly imaginative, mature, and the story telling is not at …

Write On, Wednesday: T. Greenwood talks about her fabulously compelling WHERE I LOST HER, her tenth novel but first foray into psych suspense, settings, the draw of adoption, & more

By Leslie Lindsay  Oh my gosh! WOW. Absolutely spellbinding. I loved every. single. minute of WHERE I LOST HER. Acclaimed author T. Greenwood tackles psychological suspense against the compelling backdrop of motherhood, madness, and infidelity. You might think it’s a lot to bite off, but I assure you, T. Greenwood is a confident and eloquent storyteller, her prose laced with lyrical nuances, tenderness, and trepidation. WHERE I LOST HER tows the line between yearning and imbalance, nurturing and obsession, and motherhood and infertility as one woman searches for the truth about a mysterious child.  Will Tess Waters find a lost child, or will she lose her already fragile mind? Told completely in Tess’s first person POV with flashbacks addressed to her husband, this tandem narrative WHERE I LOST HER is an interior story with psychological thriller undertones written in a poetic, lyrical, and thoughtful manner that alternates with stripped-down narrative, a perfect combination for such an original piece. Today, I am so honored to have T. Greenwood join us on the blog couch. Leslie Lindsay: …