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Book Title

Mother Country

A Novel
Author 1
Jacinda Townsend
Saddled with student loans, medical debt, and the sudden news of her infertility after a major car accident, Shannon, an African American woman, follows her boyfriend to Morocco in search of relief. There, in the cobblestoned medina of Marrakech, she finds a toddler in a pink jacket whose face mirrors her own. With the help of her boyfriend and a bribed official, Shannon makes the fateful decision to adopt and raise the girl in Louisville, Kentucky. But the girl already has a mother: Souria, an undocumented Mauritanian woman who was trafficked as a teen, and who managed to escape to Morocco to build another life.
In rendering Souria’s separation from her family across vast stretches of desert and Shannon’s alienation from her mother under the same roof, Jacinda Townsend brilliantly stages cycles of intergenerational trauma and healing. Linked by the girl who has been a daughter to them both, these unforgettable protagonists move toward their inevitable reckoning. Mother Country is a bone-deep and unsparing portrayal of the ethical and emotional claims we make upon one another in the name of survival, in the name of love.

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A transnational feminist novel about human trafficking and motherhood from an award-winning author

About the Author

Jacinda  Townsend
Credit: Jim Krause
Jacinda Townsend is the author of Saint Monkey, which won the Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize and the James Fenimore Cooper Prize. She is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and teaches in the MFA program at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.
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  • "Compassionate, exquisitely written . . . The ever-changing hues of motherhood and daughterhood, their gifts and losses for each woman and girl, are brought to life in the author’s precise, sensuous prose. Townsend is most eloquent when writing about Souria’s grief; the despair of her empty arms rendered, unforgettably, in language at once tender and brutal."—Aamina Ahmad, The New York Times 
  • “An intense exploration of gender, race, and class rooted in transnational geopolitics. . . . Townsend’s insights into self, motherhood, freedom, and love and her ability to illuminate multiple realities as this complex tale unfolds ensure that this is a gripping and provocative read.”—Booklist
  • “Uniquely unforgettable.”Karla J. Strand, Ms. Magazine
  • “Townsend provides many perspectives on motherhood while addressing potent issues of kidnapping, slavery, rape, abuse, and neglect, and vividly depicting their consequences. Highly recommended.”Library Journal
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