For the second week in a row, I find myself plugging through a 450ish page recent novel. Like Pachinko from last week, this novel is touching and true, serious and complex, and rewarding throughout.
Lucky Boy is the story of two different women barreling toward a shared destiny. Soli is a Mexican woman who crosses into the US for a chance at a new life. Along the way through both shared love and/or sexual violence, she finds herself pregnant. Despite the very limited good will of the white people she works for, her position in the new country is deeply fraught. She gives birth to her son Ignacio, who she calls “Nacho.”
Kavya is a chef living in Berkeley with his husband Rishi. He is a clean-air guru for a nebulous corporation. For years they have tried to get pregnant, including IVF and other methods. At the end of their options, they pursue adoption, settling instead for becoming foster parents, despite the shaky stability that offers.
This novel is contemporary in the most important of ways. The issues within are realistic and serious. The novel works, though there are some threads that are not necessarily clear or obviously necessary. The writing is tight and fluid. So even though it’s a hefty novel, clocking in at 470 pages, it moves quickly page by page, but also chunk by chunk.
By skipping back and forth between the narrators, and by employing 60 chapters, this novel is incredibly well paced.
The politics and emotion within are much more complex than the structure. There’s no bad guys here, but there’s a lot of pain. So be prepared for that.