When nine-year-old Anton first enters foster care, he still believes his mother is coming back for him. However, his new foster father, David Coleman, hopes she stays away for a long time. Since his biological son’s death five years ago, David’s been searching for someone to fill the void in his and his wife’s lives. David never imagined the child they’d take in would be black, but Anton seems to be adjusting well to the world of the rich, white, and privileged. David rationalizes that if he must do something dishonest to keep the boy, it is only because he wants to protect him and give him a better life. With every advantage that money can buy and nepotism can offer, Anton spends the next several decades advancing in society and following in his politician father’s footsteps. But when the secrets of his past are finally revealed, Anton’s identity is shaken to the core. Jarring and beautiful, Umrigar’s novel examines complex social issues with brutal honesty, but also creates accessible characters with relatable motives, reminding us of the deep-seated racism that exists even in the places we don’t think to look.
Join Lori Schonfeld as she leads the discussion of this compelling novel.