The Mothers, a ‘dazzling debut novel’ from Brit Bennett is a sage, sanguine, and spectacular story. It is spectacular because Bennett’s portrayal of how hurt reverberates through communities is so tangible and so very relatable. Also because sadly, so few books are about middle-class black people. The Mothers is a 288 page-turner that poses the question can a ‘what if’ be stronger than an experience.
Set in Southern California, it follows the lives of 17-year-old Nadia Turner, whose mother commits suicide; Twenty-one-year-old Luke Turner, the pastor’s son and ex-highschool jock, with his broken dreams, and Aubrey, the god fearing best friend who lost her mother in childhood. She completes the triangle. And there is a pregnancy. This sanguine situation turns into a coming of age story.
The backdrop to the story is the community and the church community. The seniors of the church Upper Room are the ‘mothers’ narrating the story. The sage elders see what’s going to happen, and watch as we do, as history repeats itself. Although we know what is going to happen, Bennett is particularly skilled at portraying raw emotions in a way that is poignant and connects with the reader.
The author, Roxane Gay recommended The Mothers to me. She says ‘This is also a novel about the sorrows of motherless girls. I loved the voice and the storytelling and how Bennett [can] hold the story she wants to tell together over the course of a decade.’
I also see it as a book that encompasses motherhood across the spectrum: lost, adopted, conflicted and endured.
The Mothers will be one of the best books published this year. One you will want to read. The kind of fiction we should all read for understanding. Don’t miss Brit Bennett The Mothers due October 2016.
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