The novel Lucky Boy focuses on two women and two really diverse images of immigration. In 1 story, 18-year-old Soli enters the U.S. from Mexico with out papers. In the other, an Indian-American woman named Kavya is struggling to have a baby with her husband, who performs in Silicon Valley. Their stories converge around a baby, the “lucky boy” of the book’s title.
Author Shanthi Sekaran has a lot in frequent with Kavya: Both are Indian-American and each reside in Berkeley, Calif. But Sekaran tells NPR’s Ari Shapiro that her upbringing produced her curious about a distinct type of immigration story.
“Expanding up, my mother was a pediatrician and the majority of her patients were immigrants,” she says. “And I knew from sort of hanging about her workplace and undertaking her filing and stuff that there were immigrants whose lives have been distinct from mine. You know, I’d see youngsters come in who I did not see at college, who I did not see in my soccer games. So I knew usually that there were different immigrant stories out there, and what I wanted to do with this novel was to recognize that disparity and look at the stories behind it and appear at the ramifications of the differences.”
On how she ready to create the character of Soli
I started just with reading testimonials, … finding out the numbers, learning what the common circumstance — the logistical predicament — of undocumented immigration was like. And then I went a little deeper with things. I interviewed adoptive parents. I spent a couple weeks in Oaxaca, Mexico. While I was there, I got to interview some undocumented — nicely, they had been no longer immigrants, they have been back in Mexico, but they had been undocumented and they had crossed the border clandestinely. …
I began to obtain some inkling of an understanding of what it’s like to live with out papers and to just have this nagging worry — it really is sort of an undercurrent that informs your life. And I discovered that from talking to men and women, from speaking actually to a psychologist who performs with undocumented immigrants, and from reading a lot. And then the rest is me as a fiction writer attempting to think about and trying to plug this data into my character.
On the actual detention/adoption story that inspired the book
When I was initial compelled to commence exploring this story, it was due to the fact I had heard about an undocumented Guatemalan lady whose son was adopted away from her. And I was horrified on behalf of the Guatemalan lady, but I also wanted to know what was going by way of the minds of these people who had adopted her son away from her. I imply, I assumed that they thought of themselves as great folks, so I knew there had to be some complexity in there, anything that permitted them to consider that taking an additional woman’s son was OK. And it had anything to do with adore, and it had some thing to do with a true require to be a parent.
On the definition of motherhood
I consider what qualifies as motherhood is receiving up with a kid in the middle of the evening and changing his diapers and feeding him when he doesn’t want to be fed. You know, it’s the grunt work that qualifies a mother as a mother, which is why I consider it is not so straightforward to say that Kavya is proper and Soli is incorrect, or Soli is correct and Kavya is wrong. Motherhood takes place in the moments when we’re taking care of our children, not simply because we have some thing on a certificate, not due to the fact we’ve biologically given birth to a kid.