Lucky Boy
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Lucky Boy : A Novel

4.18 (2,374 ratings by Goodreads)
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A gripping tale of adventure and searing reality, Lucky Boy gives voice to two mothers bound together by their love for one lucky boy. "Sekaran has written a page-turner that’s touching and all too real." —People “A fiercely compassionate story about the bonds and the bounds of motherhood and, ultimately, of love.”—Cristina Henríquez, author of The Book of Unknown Americans Eighteen years old and fizzing with optimism, Solimar Castro-Valdez embarks on a perilous journey across the Mexican border. Weeks later, she arrives in Berkeley, California, dazed by first love found then lost, and pregnant. This was not the plan. Undocumented and unmoored, Soli discovers that her son, Ignacio, can become her touchstone, and motherhood her identity in a world where she’s otherwise invisible. Kavya Reddy has created a beautiful life in Berkeley, but then she can’t get pregnant and that beautiful life seems suddenly empty. When Soli is placed in immigrant detention and Ignacio comes under Kavya’s care, Kavya finally gets to be the singing, story-telling kind of mother she dreamed of being. But she builds her love on a fault line, her heart wrapped around someone else’s child. “Nacho” to Soli, and “Iggy” to Kavya, the boy is steeped in love, but his destiny and that of his two mothers teeters between two worlds as Soli fights to get back to him. Lucky Boy is a moving and revelatory ode to the ever-changing borders of love.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 480 pages
  • 152 x 229 x 35mm | 555g
  • Prentice Hall Press
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0735212279
  • 9780735212275
  • 143,531

Review Text

"With a generous understanding of how modern issues-from illegal immigration to income inequality-play out in people's lives, Sekaran has written a page-turner that's touching and all too real." - People , Book of the Week"The plight of undocumented immigrants is nothing new, but in our current political moment the issue has acquired a fresh urgency. . . . In pitting two very different kinds of immigrants against each other-one comfortably assimilated, the other helpless in every sense-Sekaran offers a brilliantly agonizing setup. . . . [An] exceptional novel." - New York Times "Sekaran's prose is swift and engaging, her storytelling confident. . . . Lucky Boy pulses with vitality, pumped with the life breath of human sin and love." - USA Today "Topical and timely . . . Sekaran's book invites the reader to engage empathetically with thorny geopolitical issues that feel organic and fully inhabited by her finely rendered characters." - Chicago Tribune "With wit, empathy and a page-turning plot, the novel stirs ethical questions in the reader that the author rightly refuses to answer. Shanthi Sekaran has written a tender, artful story of the bravery of loving in the face of certain grief." - San Francisco Chronicle "Richly emotional . . . The story will linger in your mind long after you're done with it." -Good Housekeeping "Like M.L. Stedman in The Light Between Oceans , Sekaran presents a complex moral dilemma that leaves readers incapable of choosing sides. Lucky Boy is a must read." - BookPage "[E]ngrossing . . . 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. . . . Sekaran's characters are drawn with such deep compassion." -Dallas Morning News "Remarkably empathetic...Deeply compassionate...Delivers penetrating insights into the intangibles of motherhood and indeed, all humanity." - Booklist (starred review)"How lucky the reader who gets to devour Shanthi Sekaran's extraordinary, necessary novel. Lucky Boy is both timely and timeless, depicting the comedy and delights of the world as well as its brutalities and injustices. It's a story about immigration, privilege, and parenthood, and shows us how we are connected, and how we are, perhaps irreparably, divided. It swept me away and took a little piece of my heart with it. It's a perfect book." -Edan Lepucki, New York Times bestselling author of California"A moving story about a young boy who's fiercely loved by two mothers." - InStyle, "7 Books You Need to Read in January 2017""Heartbreaking and timely, Lucky Boy explores motherhood and lengths we will go to in order to achieve our dreams. " - Real Simple "This is an emotional story about immigration, motherhood, and love that will leave you spellbound." - Bustle , "January 2017's Best Fiction" " 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." -Seattle Times "Shanthi Sekaran has written a lush and emotionally wrenching novel, and she has written it in some of the most beautiful prose I've read in a long time. This is a fiercely compassionate story about the bonds and the bounds of motherhood and, ultimately, of love." -Cristina Henriquez, author of The Book of Unknown Americans "Sekaran is a master of drawing detailed, richly layered characters and relationships; here are the subtly nuanced lines of love and expectation between parents and children; here, too are moments of great depth and insight. A superbly crafted and engrossing novel." - Kirkus Reviews (starred review)"[A] beautiful sense of storytelling and character. . . . Sekaran succeeds in having readers root for both women and against a system that seems to punish them at the same time. This is a story that feels real and well-drawn, in part because it'show more

About Sekaran Shanthi

Shanthi Sekaran teaches creative writing at California College of the Arts, and is a member of the San Francisco Writers’ Grotto. She is the author of The Prayer Room and her work has appeared in the New York Times, Best New American Voices, and Canteen, as well as online at Zyzzyva and Mutha Magazine. A California native, she lives in Berkeley with her husband and two children. Lucky Boy is her second novel.show more

Review quote

"With a generous understanding of how modern issues—from illegal immigration to income inequality—play out in people's lives, Sekaran has written a page-turner that’s touching and all too real." —People, Book of the Week "The plight of undocumented immigrants is nothing new, but in our current political moment the issue has acquired a fresh urgency. . . . In pitting two very different kinds of immigrants against each other—one comfortably assimilated, the other helpless in every sense—Sekaran offers a brilliantly agonizing setup. . . . [An] exceptional novel." —New York Times "Sekaran’s prose is swift and engaging, her storytelling confident. . . . Lucky Boy pulses with vitality, pumped with the life breath of human sin and love." —USA Today "Topical and timely . . . Sekaran's book invites the reader to engage empathetically with thorny geopolitical issues that feel organic and fully inhabited by her finely rendered characters." — Chicago Tribune "With wit, empathy and a page-turning plot, the novel stirs ethical questions in the reader that the author rightly refuses to answer. Shanthi Sekaran has written a tender, artful story of the bravery of loving in the face of certain grief." —San Francisco Chronicle "Richly emotional . . . The story will linger in your mind long after you're done with it." —Good Housekeeping "Like M.L. Stedman in The Light Between Oceans, Sekaran presents a complex moral dilemma that leaves readers incapable of choosing sides. Lucky Boy is a must read."—BookPage "[E]ngrossing . . . 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. . . . Sekaran's characters are drawn with such deep compassion." —Dallas Morning News "Remarkably empathetic...Deeply compassionate...Delivers penetrating insights into the intangibles of motherhood and indeed, all humanity."—Booklist (starred review) “How lucky the reader who gets to devour Shanthi Sekaran's extraordinary, necessary novel. Lucky Boy is both timely and timeless, depicting the comedy and delights of the world as well as its brutalities and injustices. It's a story about immigration, privilege, and parenthood, and shows us how we are connected, and how we are, perhaps irreparably, divided. It swept me away and took a little piece of my heart with it. It's a perfect book.”—Edan Lepucki, New York Times bestselling author of California "A moving story about a young boy who's fiercely loved by two mothers." —InStyle, “7 Books You Need to Read in January 2017” "Heartbreaking and timely, Lucky Boy explores motherhood and lengths we will go to in order to achieve our dreams." —Real Simple "This is an emotional story about immigration, motherhood, and love that will leave you spellbound." —Bustle, "January 2017's Best Fiction" "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." —Seattle Times  “Shanthi Sekaran has written a lush and emotionally wrenching novel, and she has written it in some of the most beautiful prose I've read in a long time. This is a fiercely compassionate story about the bonds and the bounds of motherhood and, ultimately, of love.”—Cristina Henriquez, author of The Book of Unknown Americans “Sekaran is a master of drawing detailed, richly layered characters and relationships; here are the subtly nuanced lines of love and expectation between parents and children; here, too are moments of great depth and insight. A superbly crafted and engrossing novel.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review) "[A] beautiful sense of storytelling and character. . . . Sekaran succeeds in having readers root for both women and against a system that seems to punish them at the same time. This is a story that feels real and well-drawn, in part because it’s a scenario that has happened in the past — and will happen again." —St. Louis Post Dispatch “Shanthi Sekaran is a wonderful writer—lyrical and astute, compassionate and fearless—and Lucky Boy is a heartfelt and moving novel that challenges our notions of motherhood and the true meaning of home. A deeply beautiful book.”—Molly Antopol, award-winning author of The UnAmericans  “[H]umanizes current discussions of immigration, privilege, and what it means to be an American....Sekaran evokes compassion for all the principals involved in the story...highly recommended and would be a strong choice for book clubs.” —Library Journal (starred review) "[D]eeply engrossing . . . 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." —Bookreporter “An ambitious story that touches on sweeping themes of fertility, immigration, motherhood, racism and class struggle....There are few easy solutions to life's toughest problems, but Sekaran's Lucky Boy goes a long way toward putting a humanizing face on them.”—ShelfAwareness "In Lucky Boy Shanthi Sekaran has fashioned an ambitious, compassionate and intelligent book with new things to say on the timely subjects of motherhood, fertility, class and identity. This is a deeply human and humane novel by a gifted young writer.” —Tom Barbash, author of Stay Up With Me "A gripping, obsessive, character-driven narrative of sacrifice and identity—where the lives of two women become forever tangled in the roots of motherhood." —Simon Van Booy, award-winning author of The Illusion of Separateness "[A] roller coaster ride full of emotion . . . By far the most amazing character of this novel is Soli, who shows us how to find strength and courage in the face of the biggest and most troubling adversity. Her story is the story of the real-life undocumented workers who risk everything to make a better future for their children. Kudos to Sekaran for tackling this difficult subject." —New York Journal of Books "What stands out most about Lucky Boy is how Sekaran captures the complexity and the trials of motherhood, asking the reader to consider everyone’s position so that we would want both Soli and Kavya to be the mother. . . . Like the dedication the protagonists show toward Ignacio, Lucky Boy is obviously a labor of love." —Zyzzyva “Ambitious in its scope and triumphant in its bold, insightful observation of the flaws and wonders of human nature, Lucky Boy is a gripping tale about two seemingly distant realities intimately seared together by the inescapable forces of motherhood and survival: that of the celebrated upper-crust Silicon Valley visionary entrepreneurs, and that of the lower-class largely overlooked service workers whose underpaid efforts are the real foundation of the Valley's success. Shanthi Sekaran has written an elegantly weaved, heart-stopping novel that highlights the helplessness of money over nature and the futility of technology against true love. You'll have a hard time putting down this book, and when you finish it, you'll have a hard time not thinking, and aching, about it for a long, long time.”—Antonio Ruiz-Camacho, author of Barefoot Dogs “Sekaran unflinchingly steers her novel into beautifully and ruthlessly heartbreaking terrain.”—Johns Hopkins Magazine "[A]ffecting and resonsant . . . the complex questions raised by the novel linger long after the book ends." —Berkeleyside “Shanthi Sekaran is a tough and tender writer, unafraid to dig deep into the messy places in our hearts and lives. Lucky Boy is wonderful, a gripping read and an important story.”—Michelle Tea, author of Rent Girl “There is something so satisfying about a story that ends as it should.”—Laura McBride, author of We Are Called to Rise "[R]aises larger questions about adoption and the socioeconomics of immigration." —Sacramento Bee  “Humanizes the issue of illegal immigration...readers will be emotionally invested.”—Publishers Weekly Praise for The Prayer Room   “Sekaran is a master of cadence...there’s jazz on nearly every page.”—The New York Times   “Sekaran has a voice all her own, and it is delightful.”—Julia Glass, winner of the National Book Award and author of And the Dark Sacred Night   “A perfect debut novel, ambitious and original. With a sweeping array of emotions and uncanny writing skills, Shanthi Sekaran leaps to the forefront of her literary generation.”—Stephen Dixon, critically acclaimed author of Frog and Interstate   “Sekaran’s lyrical prose and insightful cultural details make this an absorbing story. Recommended for all fiction collections.”—Library Journal   “A probing, often humorous view of a culture clash and its many repercussions.”—Booklistshow more

Rating details

2,374 ratings
4.18 out of 5 stars
5 39% (927)
4 45% (1,062)
3 13% (304)
2 3% (63)
1 1% (18)
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