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About the Book

The bestselling, critically acclaimed author of The Space Between Us and The World We Found deftly explores issues of race, class, privilege, and power and asks us to consider uncomfortable moral questions in this probing, ambitious, emotionally wrenching novel of two families—one black, one white.

During a terrible heat wave in 1991—the worst in a decade—ten-year-old Anton has been locked in an apartment in the projects, alone, for seven days, without air conditioning or a fan. With no electricity, the refrigerator and lights do not work. Hot, hungry, and desperate, Anton shatters a window and climbs out. Cutting his leg on the broken glass, he is covered in blood when the police find him.

Juanita, his mother, is discovered in a crack house less than three blocks away, nearly unconscious and half-naked. When she comes to, she repeatedly asks for her baby boy. She never meant to leave Anton—she went out for a quick hit and was headed right back, until her drug dealer raped her and kept her high. Though the bond between mother and son is extremely strong, Anton is placed with child services while Juanita goes to jail.

The Harvard-educated son of a US senator, Judge David Coleman is a scion of northeastern white privilege. Desperate to have a child in the house again after the tragic death of his teenage son, David uses his power and connections to keep his new foster son, Anton, with him and his wife, Delores—actions that will have devastating consequences in the years to come.

Following in his adopted family’s footsteps, Anton, too, rises within the establishment. But when he discovers the truth about his life, his birth mother, and his adopted parents, this man of the law must come to terms with the moral complexities of crimes committed by the people he loves most.

Educator and Librarian Resources

Critical Praise

“The writing is clear, nuanced, and gorgeous and never even a word is preachy.... [Everybody’s Son] eloquently and heartbreakingly homes in on America’s problem with race, entitlement, and class, and uncovers all the compromises we get to make — but only if we are lucky enough to be born in the right neighborhood.” —Boston Globe

“[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

“[Anton’s] personal journey is a moving one that many fiction readers can appreciate.” —Library Journal

Everybody’s Son probes directly into the tender spots of race and privilege in America…With assured prose and deep insight into the human heart, Umrigar explores the moral gray zone of what parents, no matter their race, will do for love.” —Celeste Ng, author of Everything I Never Told You

“Umrigar hits us in three places at once: the head, the heart... the gut. With clarity of vision, she takes on the story of a neglected black boy…[Anton] is a character for our times as we… try and build bridges across the racial and economic canyons that divide us.” —David Abrams, author of Fobbit and Brave Deeds

“A potent examination of race and privilege.” —Booklist

“…[A] powerful exploration of the crucible of privilege and the raw, hard consequence of broken trust…[A] taut, exquisitely moving love story about desire... forgiveness, and the transcendent bond between a parent and child. Umrigar is a gifted storyteller, and her fiction has a revelatory force on the page.” —Dawn Tripp, author of Georgia

Product Details

  • ISBN: 9780062442246
  • ISBN 10: 0062442244
  • Imprint: Harper
  • On Sale: 06/06/2017
  • Pages: 352
  • List Price: 33.50 CAD
  • BISAC1: FICTION / Literary
  • BISAC2: FICTION / Contemporary Women
  • BISAC3: FICTION / Family Life

Everybody's Son by Thrity Umrigar

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