The author of the critically acclaimed A Cupboard Full of Coats makes her hardcover debut with a provocative and timely novel about an emotionally devastated mother’s struggle to understand her teenage son’s death, and her search for meaning and hope in the wake of incomprehensible loss.
The unimaginable has happened to Marcia Williams. Her bright and beautiful sixteen-year-old son, Ryan, has been brutally murdered. Consumed by grief and rage, she must bridle her dark feelings and endure something no mother should ever have to experience: she must go to court for the trial of the killer—another teenage boy—accused of taking her son’s life.
How could her son be dead? Ryan should have been safe—he wasn’t the kind of boy to find himself on the wrong end of a knife carried by a dangerous young man like Tyson Manley. But as the trial proceeds, Marcia finds her beliefs and assumptions challenged as she learns more about Ryan’s death and Tyson’s life, including his dysfunctional family. She also discovers troubling truths about her own. As the strain of Ryan’s death tests their marriage, Lloydie, her husband, pulls farther away, hiding behind a wall of secrets that masks his grief, while Marcia draws closer to her sister, who is becoming her prime confidant.
One person seems to hold the answers—and the hope—Marcia needs: Tyson’s scared young girlfriend, Sweetie. But as this anguished mother has learned, nothing in life is certain. Not anymore.
A beautiful, engrossing novel that illuminates some of the most important and troubling issues of our time, The Motheris a moving portrait of love, tragedy, and survival—and the aftershocks from a momentary act of cruel violence that transforms the lives of everyone it touches.
Edwards (A Cupboard Full of Coats) delves into the hyperactive mind of Marcia Williams as she struggles to process the recent murder of her 16-year-old son, Ryan, and find closure in an ocean of grief. Composed primarily of daily court proceedings and Marcia's internal search for meaning, the novel is evocatively claustrophobic. As neglected details of the case begin to emerge, Marcia's circular ruminations become increasingly seductive. The smallest facts begin to take on great importance as potential keys to Ryan's death, though Marcia reminds herself that the "what-ifs are infinite, a useless spiral stairway descending straight into hell." Marcia has been resentfully avoiding Sweetie the young woman with whom Ryan had been involved. But after this initial aversion wears away, Sweetie shows herself to be crucial in understanding Ryan's final days. The trial of Ryan's accused killer, Tyson Manley, which at first seems as if it will result in an easy murder conviction, is complicated by Sweetie's testimony and the shocking new evidence she brings to light. In this memorable story of strength in the aftermath of violent tragedy, Edwards paints a close, vivid portrait of a mother's unrelenting mission to avoid anger and blame, instead finding real justice and necessary closure.