Saturday, March 04, 2023

Seven novels about immigrant mothers who defy societal expectations

Asale Angel-Ajani is a writer and Professor at The City College of New York. She's the author of the nonfiction books Strange Trade: The Story of Two Women Who Risked Everything in the International Drug Trade and Intimate: Essays on Racial Terror. She has held residencies at Millay, Djerassi, and Playa, and is an alum of VONA and Tin House.

A Country You Can Leave is her first novel.

At Electric Lit Angel-Ajani tagged seven novels about "women with children who pursue their own independence, dreams, and desires," including:
Mother Country by Irina Reyn

This novel focuses on the life of Nadia, a Ukrainian-Russian immigrant living in Brooklyn, who has made the difficult choice to leave her child behind in a country torn apart by war. Nadia had hoped to bring her daughter to the U.S., but once her papers come through, her daughter Lassika is no longer of legal age to go with her. This forces Nadia to make the decision to pursue her own future, despite leaving her mother and daughter in a war zone. What makes this novel unique is the ways it represents parenting adult children when the family is apart. While Nadia chips away at American immigration laws to reunite with her daughter, she also grapples with the reality of living far from home while loved ones endure Putin’s war of “reunification.”
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue