The Mothers: A Novel

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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER 

“Bittersweet, sexy, morally fraught.” –The New York Times Book Review


"Luminous… engrossing and poignant, this is one not to miss." –People, Pick of the Week 

"Fantastic… a book that feels alive on the page." –The Washington Post

A dazzling debut novel from an exciting new voice, The Mothers is a surprising story about young love, a big secret in a small community—and the things that ultimately haunt us most.


Set within a contemporary black community in Southern California, Brit Bennett's mesmerizing first novel is an emotionally perceptive story about community, love, and ambition. It begins with a secret.

"All good secrets have a taste before you tell them, and if we'd taken a moment to swish this one around our mouths, we might have noticed the sourness of an unripe secret, plucked too soon, stolen and passed around before its season."

It is the last season of high school life for Nadia Turner, a rebellious, grief-stricken, seventeen-year-old beauty. Mourning her own mother's recent suicide, she takes up with the local pastor's son. Luke Sheppard is twenty-one, a former football star whose injury has reduced him to waiting tables at a diner. They are young; it's not serious. But the pregnancy that results from this teen romance—and the subsequent cover-up—will have an impact that goes far beyond their youth. As Nadia hides her secret from everyone, including Aubrey, her God-fearing best friend, the years move quickly. Soon, Nadia, Luke, and Aubrey are full-fledged adults and still living in debt to the choices they made that one seaside summer, caught in a love triangle they must carefully maneuver, and dogged by the constant, nagging question: What if they had chosen differently? The possibilities of the road not taken are a relentless haunt.

In entrancing, lyrical prose, The Mothers asks whether a "what if" can be more powerful than an experience itself. If, as time passes, we must always live in servitude to the decisions of our younger selves, to the communities that have parented us, and to the decisions we make that shape our lives forever.
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About the author

Born and raised in Southern California, Brit Bennett graduated from Stanford University and later earned her MFA in fiction at the University of Michigan, where she won a Hopwood Award in Graduate Short Fiction as well as the 2014 Hurston/Wright Award for College Writers. Her work is featured in The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, The Paris Review, and Jezebel. She is one of the National Book Foundation's 2016 5 Under 35 honorees.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Penguin
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Published on
Oct 11, 2016
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Pages
288
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ISBN
9780399184536
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Language
English
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Genres
Fiction / Coming of Age
Fiction / Literary
Fiction / Women
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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“Prepare yourself for a daring, unsparing takedown of millennial Manhattan, trick by glossy trick.” —Beatriz Williams

We are a bifurcated generation, the Romantics versus the Realists: those who prefer transistor radios to Bose sound systems, scuffed ocean liner trunks to gleaming Rimowa hard shells, fountain pens to BlackBerry keyboards, restored old roadsters to eco-friendly hybrids, the unsmudgeable guarantee of old illusions to present-life ones, tinny and certain to disappoint.

When M. meets Belle at Dartmouth, they become the unlikeliest best friends. Belle is an unapologetic Romantic famous on campus for her bright red accessories and hundred-watt smile, while M. is a tomboyish Realist who insists she’ll always prefer her signet ring to any diamond. Despite their differences, they are drawn together, and after graduation they both move to New York with all the unfounded confidence of twenty-two. M. secures a job at the city’s most prestigious investment bank, and Belle turns her nostalgic aesthetic into one of the first lifestyle blogs, which quickly goes viral. Their future is spread before them, a glittering tableau of vintage cocktails, password-guarded parties, and high-octane ambition. But as they are pulled deeper into their new lives, and into the charming orbit of their Gatsby-esque new friend, Jeremy, style and substance—and dreams and reality—increasingly blur. In this fake plastic world, what do success and love and happiness even look like?

Dazzling, whimsical, and full of yearning, Fake Plastic Love is the transporting story of bright young things tested by the unsentimental realities of post-graduate life. Tipping its hat to F. Scott Fitzgerald, Kimberley Tait’s gorgeous, incisive debut is a portrait of millennial Manhattan—equal parts nostalgia and modernity—that explores the timeless question: You will be a grand total of what you spend your time doing, so what do you want to add up to?

From the New York Times-bestselling author of The Mothers, a stunning new novel about twin sisters, inseparable as children, who ultimately choose to live in two very different worlds, one black and one white.

The Vignes twin sisters will always be identical. But after growing up together in a small, southern black community and running away at age sixteen, it's not just the shape of their daily lives that is different as adults, it's everything: their families, their communities, their racial identities. Ten years later, one sister lives with her black daughter in the same southern town she once tried to escape. The other secretly passes for white, and her white husband knows nothing of her past. Still, even separated by so many miles and just as many lies, the fates of the twins remain intertwined. What will happen to the next generation, when their own daughters' storylines intersect?

Weaving together multiple strands and generations of this family, from the deep South to California, from the 1950s to the 1990s, Brit Bennett produces a story that is at once a riveting, emotional family story and a brilliant exploration of the American history of passing. Looking well beyond issues of race, The Vanishing Half considers the lasting influence of the past as it shapes a person's decisions, desires, and expectations, and explores some of the multiple reasons and realms in which people sometimes feel pulled to live as something other than their origins.

As with her New York Times-bestselling debut The Mothers, Brit Bennett offers an engrossing page-turner about family and relationships that is immersive and provocative, compassionate and wise.
FINALIST for the PULITZER PRIZE
LONG-LISTED for the NATIONAL BOOK AWARD
WINNER of the LOS ANGELES TIMES BOOK PRIZE
FINALIST for the NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD
FINALIST for the KIRKUS PRIZE
LONG-LISTED for the ANDREW CARNEGIE MEDAL

TOP 10 NOVELS OF THE YEAR -- TIME, Wall Street Journal, San Francisco Chronicle, BBC, Newsday

ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR: Barnes & Noble, BookPage, BuzzFeed, Elle, Financial Times, Huffington Post, Kirkus, NPR, Refinery29, Seattle Times, Shelf Awareness, WBUR's On Point

"Haslett is one of the country's most talented writers, equipped with a sixth sense for characterization" --Wall Street Journal

"Ambitious and stirring . . . With Imagine Me Gone, Haslett has reached another level." --New York Times Book Review

From a Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award finalist, a ferociously intimate story of a family facing the ultimate question: how far will we go to save the people we love the most?

When Margaret's fiancé, John, is hospitalized for depression in 1960s London, she faces a choice: carry on with their plans despite what she now knows of his condition, or back away from the suffering it may bring her. She decides to marry him. Imagine Me Gone is the unforgettable story of what unfolds from this act of love and faith. At the heart of it is their eldest son, Michael, a brilliant, anxious music fanatic who makes sense of the world through parody. Over the span of decades, his younger siblings -- the savvy and responsible Celia and the ambitious and tightly controlled Alec -- struggle along with their mother to care for Michael's increasingly troubled and precarious existence.

Told in alternating points of view by all five members of the family, this searing, gut-wrenching, and yet frequently hilarious novel brings alive with remarkable depth and poignancy the love of a mother for her children, the often inescapable devotion siblings feel toward one another, and the legacy of a father's pain in the life of a family.

With his striking emotional precision and lively, inventive language, Adam Haslett has given us something rare: a novel with the power to change how we see the most important people in our lives.
A unique collaboration between the American Civil Liberties Union and authors Michael Chabon and Ayelet Waldman, Fight of the Century features original essays by the most influential writers at work today—including Jennifer Egan, Neil Gaiman, Marlon James, Viet Thanh Nguyen, Salman Rushdie, Jesmyn Ward, and more—each writing about a landmark ACLU case, published in conjunction with the 100th anniversary of the organization.

The American Civil Liberties Union began as a small group of idealists and visionaries, including Helen Keller and Jane Addams. A century after its founding, the ACLU remains the nation’s premier defender of the rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution.

In collaboration with the ACLU, prize-winning authors Michael Chabon and Ayelet Waldman have curated an anthology of essays about landmark cases in the ACLU’s 100-year history. In Fight of the Century, bestselling and award-winning authors present unique literary takes on historic decisions like Brown v. Board of Education, the Scopes trial, Roe v. Wade, and more. Contributors include Geraldine Brooks, Michael Cunningham, Jennifer Egan, Dave Eggers, Louise Erdrich, Neil Gaiman, Lauren Groff, Marlon James, Viet Thanh Nguyen, Morgan Parker, Ann Patchett, Salman Rushdie, George Saunders, Elizabeth Strout, Jesmyn Ward, Meg Wolitzer, and more.

Fight of the Century shows how throughout American history, pivotal legal battles, fought primarily by underdogs and their lawyers, have advanced civil rights and social justice. The ACLU has been integral in this process. The essays range from personal memoir to narrative history, each shedding light on the work of one remarkable organization as it shaped a country.

Chabon and Waldman are donating their advance and any subsequent proceeds connected to the book to the ACLU, and the contributors are forgoing payment.
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