Shanthi Sekaran’s literary voice has become a howl with her second novel, “Lucky Boy” (after 2009’s “The Prayer Room”). It’s the wrenching story of two women and the child they both long to keep, for very different reasons (Putnam, $27, 480 pages).
Solimar is 18 and soon to be pregnant when she leaves her impoverished Mexican village to illegally enter the U.S., finding refuge in a cousin’s apartment in Berkeley. Soon, baby Ignacio arrives and Soli must find work, eventually as a maid and nanny in a private residence.
Meanwhile, Kavya is a second-generation Indian American chef married to Rishi, who works at a tech company. Though Kavya is content with her social status, there is a longing for the one thing she cannot have – a baby.
The women’s paths intersect when Soli is arrested for her status as an undocumented worker and sent to a detention camp. Ignacio, now a year old, goes into a foster home under the care of Kavya and Rishi.
The moral dilemma arises of two passionate women and their love for one child, and the devastating realization that only one of them can possess him.
In a starred review, Booklist says it is “remarkably empathetic and deeply compassionate, delivering penetrating insights into the intangibles of motherhood and, indeed, all humanity.”
Sekaran will give a presentation and answer audience questions at the Thursday, Feb. 23, edition of the Sacramento Bee Book Club.
On March 4, she will join 40 other authors at the 15th annual Authors On the Move, the literary gala and primary fundraiser for the Sacramento Public Library Foundation, also benefiting the Sacramento Public Library’s Summer Reading Program. The soiree will begin at 5 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency, 1209 L St, Sacramento. Tickets are $225, with eight-seat tables going for $1,700, at saclibraryfoundation.org.
Sekaran lives in Berkeley with her husband and two children. Visit her at www.shanthisekaran.com.
Bee Book Club
Shanthi Sekaran will appear for The Sacramento Bee Book Club 6 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 23, in The Hive at The Sacramento Bee, 2100 Q St., Sacramento.
Tickets to the event are $20 for seven-day-a-week subscribers, $30 for general admission. Buy tickets online at www.sacbee.com/beebookclub. Doors open at 5:15 p.m. Parking is free. Barnes & Noble will be on site, selling “Lucky Boy” for 30 percent off the list price (Putnam, $27, 480 pages).
All proceeds benefit The Bee’s News In Education program, bringing news and information to more than 20,000 students in the region.
“Lucky Boy” also will be offered for a 30 percent discount through Feb. 23 at these bookstores: in the Sacramento area at the five Barnes & Nobles, Avid Reader at the Tower, Underground Books, Time Tested Books and Sac State’s Hornet Bookstore; in Davis at Avid Reader and UC Davis Bookstore; in El Dorado Hills at Face in a Book; and in Grass Valley at The Bookseller.