- About the Book
A gripping tale of adventure and searing reality, Lucky Boy gives voice to two mothers bound together by their love for one lucky boy.Solimar Castro Valdez is eighteen and drunk on optimism when she embarks on a perilous journey across the US/Mexican border. Weeks later she arrives on her cousin's doorstep in Berkeley, CA, dazed by first love found then lost, and pregnant. This was not the plan. But amid the uncertainty of new motherhood and her American identity, Soli learns that when you have just one precious possession, you guard it with your life. For Soli, motherhood becomes her dwelling and the boy at her breast her hearth.Kavya Reddy has always followed her heart, much to her parents' chagrin. A mostly contented chef at a UC Berkeley sorority house, the unexpected desire to have a child descends like a cyclone in Kavya's mid-thirties. When she can't get pregnant, this desire will test her marriage, it will test her sanity, and it will set Kavya and her husband, Rishi, on a collision course with Soli, when she is detained and her infant son comes under Kavya's care. As Kavya learns to be a mother--the singing, story-telling, inventor-of-the-universe kind of mother she fantasized about being--she builds her love on a fault line, her heart wrapped around someone else's child.Lucky Boy is an emotional journey that will leave you certain of the redemptive beauty of this world. There are no bad guys in this story, no obvious hero.From rural Oaxaca to Berkeleys Gourmet Ghetto to the dreamscapes of Silicon valley, author Shanthi Sekaranhas taken real life and applied it to fiction; the results are moving and revelatory.From the Hardcover edition.
Sekaran makes no easy judgments. She does the hard work of a thorough fiction writer and presents flawed characters aching with humanity.... This novel takes its time, and it could probably be shorter without losing much of its impact. But Sekaran's prose is swift and engaging, her storytelling confident enough to justify the scenic route.... It's easy to imagine the lives of these characters even off the page. Lucky Boy pulses with vitality, pumped with the life breath of human sin and love.
The novel's expansive scope and thoughtful exploration of these issues are deeply engrossing for readers. When, then, a final crisis perpetuates a brisk, even hasty, conclusion, the result can feel a little jarring. This abrupt denouement, as well as the ethically complicated circumstances leading to it, will likely result in some spirited conversations in book groups and elsewhere. LUCKY BOY effectively puts human faces on an issue that is often discussed solely in broad, general terms.
Lucky Boy is an ambitious novel that braids together two complex stories about family and parenting and also takes on the issues of immigration, class privilege and mass incarceration. Though her plot falters toward the end of the novel, Sekaran's characters are drawn with such deep compassion that the reader will stick with the book all the way to its somewhat outlandish conclusion.
—Dallas Morning News
—Dallas Morning News
Lucky Boy is both a contemporary page-turner (in the model of Chris Bohjalian's novels) and a model of delicate, artful writing that lets us see an entire world contemporary Berkeley, or, rather, two different versions of it from its characters' eyes. And its descriptions of the emotional rush of parenthood are often strikingly lovely.