Interview: ‘Rumaan Alam’ Talks His New Book That Kind Of Mother

Author photo credit: David A. Land

It was February; it was very cold. We had family in town, for a wedding. A Sunday afternoon: a bowl of clementines, a quiche, a banana bread, dotted with blueberries, several pots of coffee. The children made a mess, as they always do. I gave the baby his bottle. My dear friend Heather Weston took this picture.

My short fiction has appeared in StoryQuarterly, Crazyhorse, Meridian, and at Wigleaf. Other writing has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, New York Magazine, the New Republic, Buzzfeed, and elsewhere. I studied writing at Oberlin College. Now I live in New York with my husband and two kids. I am very good at building things out of Legos. Check out his website here, Twitter, and Facebook. The book comes out on Tuesday, May 8. You can listen to the interview below.

Like many first-time mothers, Rebecca Stone finds herself both deeply in love with her newborn son and deeply overwhelmed. Struggling to juggle the demands of motherhood with her own aspirations and feeling utterly alone in the process, she reaches out to the only person at the hospital who offers her any real help—Priscilla Johnson—and begs her to come home with them as her son’s nanny.

Priscilla’s presence quickly does as much to shake up Rebecca’s perception of the world as it does to stabilize her life. Rebecca is white, and Priscilla is black, and through their relationship, Rebecca finds herself confronting, for the first time, the blind spots of her own privilege. She feels profoundly connected to the woman who essentially taught her what it means to be a mother. When Priscilla dies unexpectedly in childbirth, Rebecca steps forward to adopt the baby. But she is unprepared for what it means to be a white mother with a black son. As she soon learns, navigating motherhood for her is a matter of learning how to raise two children whom she loves with equal ferocity, but whom the world is determined to treat differently.

Courtesy of Ecco

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