The Mothers: A Novel (Hardcover)
A taut, emotionally gripping novel about one couple’s passionate desire for a child and their heartrending journey through adoption—from a critically acclaimed writer whose “voice is at turns wise and barbed with sharp humor” (Vanity Fair).
Poignant, raw, and insightful, Jennifer Gilmore’s third novel is an unforgettable story of love, family, and motherhood. With a “voice [that is] at turns wise and barbed with sharp humor” (Vanity Fair), Gilmore lays bare the story of one couple’s ardent desire for a child and their emotional journey through adoption.
Jesse and Ramon are a loving couple, but after years spent unsuccessfully trying to get pregnant, they turn to adoption, relieved to think that once they navigate the bureaucratic path to parent-hood they will have a happy ending. But nothing has prepared them for the labyrinthine process—for the many training sessions and approvals; for the constant advice from friends, strangers, and “experts”; for the birthmothers who contact them but don’t ultimately choose them; or even, most shockingly, for the women who call claiming they’ve chosen Jesse and Ramon but who turn out never to have been pregnant in the first place.
Jennifer Gilmore’s eloquence about the human heart—its frailties and complexities—and her razor-sharp observations about race, class, culture, and changing family dynamics are spectacularly combined in this powerful novel. Suffused with passion and fury, The Mothers is a taut, gripping, and satisfying book that will stay with readers long after they turn the last page.
About the Author
Jennifer Gilmore is the author Golden Country, a 2006 New York Times Notable Book and a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and the National Jewish Book Award, and Something Red, a New York Times Notable Book of 2010. Her work has appeared in Allure, the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The New York Times Book Review, Vogue, and The Washington Post. She lives in Brooklyn.
“A spirited and admirably frank novel.”
“An engrossing story of loss, love and motherhood.”
“This engaging novel about a Brooklyn couple’s struggle to adopt a child maintains a playful tone even when dealing with painful circumstances.”
“A brutal but believable story.”
“Through Jesse's obsession with motherhood we can feel not only her yearning but also the backbreaking weight of cultural expectation. "TheMothers" is a lunatic lullaby about one woman's desire for a baby and for the transformative magic she hopes that child will bring.”
“Faced with the incredibly daunting tasking of doing justice to such a universal and intricate subject, Gilmore rises exquisitely to the occasion….unflinching, touching, and even laugh-out-loud funny.”
“[Readers] will embrace Gilmore’s willingness to probe deeply into her ugliest feelings.”
“I couldn't stop reading it—it had the harrowing qualities of a psychological thriller, the comedy of a familiar Jewish family, and was alternately hysterically funny and heartbreaking. It is down to the bone stripped-bare honest.”
— A.M. Homes,
"Motherhood, like all great topics for a novel, can overwhelm. It's a massive subject with many aspects; how to even approach it? Jennifer Gilmore jumps in, beautifully, in The Mothers, which explores the deep and plangent desire for a child, but also takes on the epic state of contemporary motherhood itself: its status, its limitations, its pleasures and sorrows, and the fantasies that inevitably surround it. This well-observed exploration of maternity both day-to-day and existential has the ache of longing at its heart, and the result is both broad and personal, and always engaging.”
— Meg Wolitzer
“A wrenching examination of parenthood that ends on a hopeful note.”
Coverage from NPR
Lightfall was love at first sight. Entering this world of Irpa is utterly enchanting, and it feels as if you're discovering for yourself the wonderous details of its magic with each turn of the page. The story follows two unexpected companions, Bea and Cad, both looking for their lost families but finding each other instead, as they get whisked away on a more and more miraculous journey--while meanwhile a darker and more ancient magic is awakening. Lightfall is awe-inspiring in its worldbuilding, compelling in its storytelling, and delightful in it's humor, with a sprinkling of commentary about anxiety and facing our fears. By the end of the book, I was thinking deeply of how much we can each learn from Cad and Bea!
(Graphic Novel, Ages 8+) - reviewed by Isabel