A page-turning generational saga about a young man’s search for a parent he never knew—and a moving portrait of motherhood, race, and the truths we hide in the name of family—from the Ernest J. Gaines Award-winning author of This Side of Providence.
Raised by a single mother in Miami, Florida, Jenry Castillo, newly arrived at Brown University on a music scholarship, finds himself searching for information about his late father Jasper Patterson, an internationally recognized principal ballet dancer who died tragically when Jenry was two. Jenry thinks his estranged grandfather, Winston Patterson, a professor of African American history at Brown and a titan in his field, might have the answers he seeks. Already more than a little intimidating, Winston explodes Jenry’s world with one question: Why is the young man so interested in his son Jasper? It was Winston’s daughter, Juliet, who was his mother’s lover. Juliet is the parent he should be looking for—his other mother.
Seamlessly moving between the past and the present to piece together the complicated web that has both bound this family together and kept them apart, The Other Mother is a profoundly moving and masterful exploration of the power of love and family; of the intersections of race, class, providence, and sexuality; the role of patriarchy in defining who belongs to whom; and of the relevance of biology in determining familial bonds and what it means to be related.
Unfurling in the most surprising and satisfying of ways, revelation follows revelation as each member of Jenry’s family peels back layers of a story that is at once deeply familiar—of first love, betrayal, and the selfishness of youth, of the beautiful, complicated love between parents and children—and also compelling in its centering of queer lives and people of color.