Publication date: 2002
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My Mother's Lovers
Lake Rose Davis is the only child of former hippies who settled in a small Idaho mill town in the late 1960s. Her parents' eccentric lifestyle makes Lake an outcast among the children of the town, and the unspoken tensions among the adults of her parents' social universe puzzle and disturb her. She ponders over her mother's infidelities and the mysterious resentment between her mother and her grandparents far away in St. Louis, and between her mother and her aunt, a conventional career woman relentlessly in search of love.
As a teenager, Lake joins her grandparents in Missouri and spends her youth seeking answers to her questions about the past, trying to understand the complex pattern of betrayals that shaped it. Only when she herself becomes party to a betrayal as devastating as any committed by her mother does Lake begin to understand.
Passanante writes with a keen eye for the details of behavior that reveal the yearnings and fears beneath the surface. She shows us that the path to understanding is never a smooth one, and that love is often far more complex than we can imagine. Western Literature Series.
“Ultimately, this is a novel about choice, the legacy of choice, and the fulfillment of individual choice. Joy Passanante shows us how we resist and reclaim the people and places—with all their power and ambiguity—that make us who we are.”
—Jane Varley, Western American Literature
“Told with compassion, laced with moments of lyrical insight and penetrating wit, Joy Passanante’s novel takes us straight to the heart of adolescent need, hope, and confusion. In the complex interaction between mother and daughter, we come to see how the ghost of one life can inhabit the next. Scenes of painful betrayal and languid seduction combine to form a story that vividly details the ways in which passion can both wound and restore.”
—Kim Barnes, author of In the Kingdom of Men
“Joy Passanante has written an elegant novel, an elegiac coming-of-age that resounds of its time and place.”
—Mary Clearman Blew, author of This is Not the Ivy League
“Joy Passanante’s novel is full of love, passion, and betrayal, and the reminder that knowledge burns before it heals.”
—John Sayles, author of A Moment in the Sun