Best Books of the Month: Literature and Fiction

BurmaMommy dearists, disappearing moms, sacrificial moms...I suppose it's no coincidence that the month of May would feature so many great novels where moms play a prominent role (be careful which one you select as a belated Mother's Day gift). We start off with Charmaine Craig's Miss Burma, a story about family ties that are tested by two wars, which was inspired by the experiences of Craig's real-life mother and grandparents.

Browse the rest below, and discover all of our selections for the best literature and fiction of May here.

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Mother Land by Paul Theroux
The title is a cheeky reference to the household a narcissistic mother rules with an iron fist. Anyone who has grown up in such a family will especially appreciate the complicated emotional dynamics, where one child is pitted against the other, casting a toxic cloud over their lives that is difficult to eschew (not speaking from experience--love you, mom!).
 

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The Leavers by Lisa Ko
This debut was awarded the 2016 PEN/Bellwether Prize for Fiction. The purpose of the award is to recognize works that deftly address issues of social justice. The Leavers is about Deming Guo, a young boy whose mother, an undocumented Chinese immigrant, vanishes after work one day. Soon, a well-intentioned but occasionally misguided white couple adopts him and renames him...Daniel Wilkinson (perhaps the whitest name, ever). While Deming/Daniel struggles with reconciling his past self with the new identity his adopted parents want him to assume, his birth mother grapples with the consequences of her decisions.
 

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Lilli de Jong by Janet Benton
It's 1883 in Philadelphia and an unwed mother has been expelled by her community and forced to have her baby in a wayward home for "wronged women." Because two wrongs don't make a right, but do make fascinating fodder for a novel, Lilli decides to keep her baby, despite the prejudices, poverty, and ignominy that will accompany her choice. Benton has written a powerful work steeped in history, one that highlights the sacrifices, and rich rewards, of being a mother.
 

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