Mother Country: Memoir of an Adopted Boy

Jeremy Harding, Author
Jeremy Harding, Verso, $14.95 (192p) ISBN 978-1-84467-657-6
Paperback - 189 pages - 978-0-571-21294-1
Hardcover - 189 pages - 978-0-571-21289-7
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Told in a straightforward manner with all of the false leads and dead ends of a Chandler hard-boiled caper, Harding's memoir is a testimony in determination and endurance as he searches for his birth mother after learning of his adoption as a child. Harding, contributing editor at the London Review of Books, takes the word of Maureen, his adoptive mother, of his true parents as a "little Irish girl" and a Scandinavian sailor, leaving his fanciful childhood on a houseboat on London's Thames River to pursue a dogged quest through birth records, electoral rolls, and various public registers to find his bloodline. During his search, he examines the emotional concept of motherhood through the two women essential in his life and the tangle of Britain's adoption laws, which concealed the identities of biological parents at the time. The book, with its colorful, insightful revelations about his adoptive parents and compelling discoveries about his birth mother, give this slender memoir a special magic and beauty that will grip the reader long after the final page is turned. (Dec.)
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