cover image Mother Country

Mother Country

Jacinda Townsend. Graywolf, $17 trade paper (312p) ISBN 978-1-64445-087-1

The lives of two women from across the globe intersect in this impactful story of motherhood, resilience, and belonging from Townsend (Saint Monkey). Souria, a young Mauritanian woman trafficked from her family as a girl, lands in Marrakech, pregnant and alone, and attempts to carve out an independent life for herself. Shannon, a 28-year-old Black woman living in Kentucky with her parents as she recovers from a car accident, accepts an invitation from her boyfriend, Vladimir, to accompany him on a business trip to Morocco. The couple, desperate to begin a fresh stage of their lives, marry soon after their return. Two years later, and after several attempts at IVF, Shannon and Vladimir return to Morocco, where Shannon finds Souria’s two-year-old daughter, apparently abandoned. In a hasty decision, Shannon names the girl Mardi and decides to adopt her. As Mardi grows up and struggles to adjust to her new life, Shannon grapples with the demands of motherhood while Souria mourns the loss of her child. In scenes both vast and intimate, Townsend brings to life the busy streets of Marrakech as well as the quiet suburbs of Kentucky. This moving story about love and loss will not easily be forgotten. (May)