Everybody’s Son

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“He was everybody’s son, but he belonged to no one”.

A complex and poignant portrait of what it means to be a mother, a father, or a son, and what it feels like to have this most central of identities suddenly ripped away.

When we first meet Anton Vesper he is nine years old, a helpless child in a life held hostage by the terrible choices of a drug addicted mother. As Anton, and the people who try to help him, soon discover, there are no easy solutions.

“This seemingly fragile powerless woman with her guilt and her shame, her weakness and her strength, held the power to destroy him.”

With compassion and incredible delicacy, the author draws us into a world of questions, as life-altering decisions, initially portrayed as with the best of intentions, suddenly appear, to the reader, cloudy with contradictions, ethical dilemmas, and heart-spun motives that may, after all, come from a place that may be as self-serving as it is tainted.

Who can see into the heart of a child?

Is redemption even possible, and can love be truly unconditional? Do the ends ever justify the means? is justice served by lying to achieve a “greater” good?

To add fuel to the already thematically-burning fire, Anton, a golden child of incredible beauty, born of a white father and black mother, torn between and alien to both unknowable worlds, finds himself a ghostly victim of a life-long journey, an internal chasm devastatingly wide – left in the place of his own racial identity.

As we follow Anton into adulthood, it’s clear that love and vulnerability have become forever encased, strength against weakness setting a tone to a life now deeply patterned in grooves set by the adults around him.

As we ache for Anton, the man, seeing the child, and the wounds that still run so deep, the authors insights refuse the simple and trite, – profound in their wisdom, we are all held close, readers and victims, caught in the visceral draw of a shared world we cannot help but deeply recognize.

“There were no adults. There were just tall children stumbling around the world, walking pools of unfinished hopes, unmet needs, and seething desires. “

I absolutely loved “Everybody’s Son”. With writing that is gorgeous and lyrical, a richly flawed and deeply layered cast of characters, and a heart-breaking and heady thematic reach, this book is highly recommended to lovers of literary fiction everywhere.


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