A tough divorce lawyer with a troubled past is forced to revisit her childhood when she discovers her estranged mother is probably dead and may have left another child behind.
Paula Vauss was born to a free-spirited teen mother who nicknamed her Kali, after the Hindu goddess of change and destruction. The two traveled across the South, Paula's mother taking up with men who’d shelter her and her young daughter for a time, then growing restless and taking to the road again—a lifestyle that worked much better for a young child than for a preteen beginning to exist outside her mother’s influence. When an ill-fated move lands mother and daughter with a low-level drug dealer, Paula makes a phone call that will change their lives forever and drive a wedge through their close, loving relationship. Years later, still trying to atone for that devastating act and make sense of her subsequent reinvention into a hardscrabble fighter who survived foster care, law school, and her mother’s scathing silence, Paula discovers she may have siblings, including a young child who may be lost in the system. Traveling back through her memories, Paula looks for guidance from her itinerant childhood and the stories her mother told her, an odd combination of Hindu mysticism and Southern mythmaking: “I was born in Alabama. My mother invoked Kali on the black and bloody soil of the American South, and she didn’t get renewal, hope, or springtime. She got me.” She'll also have to re-evaluate her sense of self, since suddenly, rather than burning bridges, she may have to forgive herself enough to let others in and create deep connections. Jackson delivers another quirky, Southern-based, character-driven novel that combines exquisite writing, vivid personalities, and imaginative storylines while subtly contemplating race, romance, family, and self.
A searing yet ultimately uplifting look at broken people who heal themselves and each other through forgiveness, love, and the power of stories.