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ISBN: 9789766379940

Publication Date: Oct 2020

Format: Paperback

After his cherished childhood Jamaican nanny dies, a Jewish young man entering adulthood realizes there's so much he has yet to learn about the woman who leant him her accent and with whom he shared an unlikely kindred spirit. Part memoir, part reportage, this is a story about family, and a woman whose quiet strength held it all together.
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After his cherished childhood Jamaican nanny dies, a Jewish young man entering adulthood realizes there's so much he has yet to learn about the woman who leant him her accent and with whom he shared an unlikely kindred spirit. Part memoir, part reportage, Another Mother is a story about family, an unlikely duo, and a woman whose quiet strength held it all together. From New Jersey to Jamaica, noted writer Ross Kenneth Urken chronicles the life of Dezna, the Jamaican immigrant nanny who became the glue holding his dysfunctional Jewish American family together. An anchor in a dysfunctional home – plagued by addiction and mental illness – Dezna became Urken's closest confidante and inspired in him a love of words and narrative. But she vanishes before he can ask all the essential questions he wants to about her life – adult to adult. There was a tacit privacy agreement she maintained during his childhood, a sacrosanct code of silence. Her role was to maintain order in this American household while obscuring the chaos of her own past. Yet, because she transcended the call of duty in her love and maternal care, the author finds that gag-order null and void. As redemption for his missed opportunity, he goes on a quest to find her through an authentic connection to her homeland and her family members. He digs deeper into the hardships she faced in her native country – the three lovers, the eight children, the poverty, the family pineapple business ravaged economically by a calculated CIA plot. After becoming a widow, she escaped to the country that undid hers in search of a better future – forced with the difficult decision of leaving her own kids behind to provide for them. In his quest for the truth of Dezna's past, Urken encounters unexpected secrets and a spiritual Promised Land.

Reviews

A brilliant meditation on the complexities of family, identity, immigration and, ultimately, love. A story as rich in unique cultural dynamics as it is resonant with universal themes: who are the people we call our family, what hurts and hopes do we hide from each other, and to what lengths are we willing to go truly to know the ones we love?" – Taiye Selasi, author of Ghana Must Go and The Sex Lives of African Girls
Pages 200
Dimensions 229 x 152
Date Published 30 Oct 2020
Publisher Ian Randle Publishers
Subject/s Biography & True Stories   Migration, immigration & emigration  

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