Join Helen Klein Ross in conversation with local novelist Claire Messud, author of The Woman Upstairs.
Simply told but deeply affecting, in the bestselling tradition of Alice McDermott and Tom Perrotta, this urgent novel unravels the heartrending yet unsentimental tale of a woman who kidnaps a baby in a superstore and gets away with it for twenty-one years.
Lucy Wakefield is a seemingly ordinary woman who does something extraordinary in a desperate moment: she takes a baby girl from a shopping cart and raises her as her own. It's a secret she manages to keep for over two decades from her daughter, the babysitter who helped raise her, family, coworkers, and friends.
When Lucy's now-grown daughter Mia discovers the devastating truth of her origins, she is overwhelmed by confusion and anger and determines not to speak again to the mother who raised her. She reaches out to her birth mother for a tearful reunion, and Lucy is forced to flee to China to avoid prosecution. What follows is a ripple effect that alters the lives of many and challenges our understanding of the very meaning of motherhood.
Helen Klein Ross weaves a powerful story of upheaval and resilience told from the alternating perspectives of Lucy, Mia, Mia's birth mother, and others intimately involved in the kidnapping. "What Was Mine" is a compelling tale of motherhood and loss, of grief and hope, and the life-shattering effects of a single, irrevocable moment.
Helen Klein Ross is a poet and novelist whose work has appeared in the New Yorker, the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times, and in the Iowa Review, where it won the 2014 Iowa Review award in poetry. She graduated from Cornell University and received an MFA from the New School. Helen lives with her husband in New York City and Salisbury, CT.