Lauren Grodstein is the author of the forthcoming novel "Our Short History," which Karen Russell calls, "funny and fast-paced and extraordinarily insightful on every page" Her previous novels include the New York Times bestselling "A Friend of the Family," along with "The Explanation for Everything," "Reproduction is the Flaw of Love," and the short story collection "The Best of Animals." She teaches creative writing at the Camden campus of Rutgers University, where she helps administer the university MFA program, and lives in New Jersey, near Rutgers, with her husband and her young son.
“Lauren Grodstein breaks your heart, then miraculously pieces it back together so it’s bigger—and stronger—than before.” —Celeste Ng, author of Everything I Never Told You
How can a woman learn to let go of the people she loves the most?
Karen Neulander, a successful New York political consultant and single mother, has always been fiercely protective of her son, Jacob, now six. She’s had to be: when Jacob’s father, Dave, found out Karen was pregnant and made it clear that fatherhood wasn’t in his plans, Karen walked out of the relationship, never telling Dave her intention was to raise their child alone.
But now Jake is asking to meet his dad, and with good reason: Karen is dying. When she finally calls her ex, she’s shocked to find Dave ecstatic about the son he never knew he had. First, he can’t meet Jake fast enough, and then he can’t seem to leave him alone. Karen quickly grows anxious as she watches Dave insinuate himself into Jake’s life just as her own strength and hold on Jake grow more tenuous.
As she struggles to play out her last days in the “right” way for Jake, Karen wrestles with the knowledge that the only thing she cannot bring herself to do for her son—let his father become a permanent part of his life—is the thing he needs from her the most. With heart-wrenching poignancy, unexpected wit, and mordant humor, Lauren Grodstein has created an unforgettable story about parenthood, sacrifice, and life itself.