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  • Published: 28 April 2020
  • ISBN: 9780525512394
  • Imprint: Random House USA
  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 288
  • RRP: $46.99

What We Carry

A Memoir



“Profoundly moving”—Will Schwalbe, author of The End of Your Life Book Club

“A gorgeous memoir about mothers, daughters, and the tenacity of the love that grows between what is said and what is left unspoken.”—Mira Jacob, author of Good Talk

In caring for her aging mother and her own young daughter, writer Maya Shanbhag Lang—“a new voice of the highest caliber” (Rebecca Makkai)—confronts the legacy of family myths and how the stories shared between parents and children reverberate through generations: a deeply moving memoir about immigrants and their native-born children, the complicated love between mothers and daughters, and the discovery of strength.How much can you judge another woman’s choices? What if that woman is your mother?

Maya Shanbhag Lang grew up idolizing her brilliant mother, an accomplished physician who immigrated to the United States from India and completed her residency, all while raising her children and keeping a traditional Indian home. She had always been a source of support—until Maya became a mother herself. Then, the parent who had once been so capable and attentive turned unavailable and distant. Struggling to understand this abrupt change while raising her own young child, Maya searches for answers and soon learns that her mother is living with Alzheimer’s

When Maya steps in to care for her, she comes to realize that despite their closeness, she never really knew her mother. Were her cherished stories—about life in India, about what it means to be an immigrant, about motherhood itself—even true? Affecting, raw, and poetic, What We Carry is the story of a daughter and her mother, of lies and truths, of receiving and giving care—and how we cannot grow up until we fully understand the people who raised us.

  • Published: 28 April 2020
  • ISBN: 9780525512394
  • Imprint: Random House USA
  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 288
  • RRP: $46.99

Praise for What We Carry

What We Carry is a profoundly moving memoir about secrets, trauma, and what happens when, for reasons beyond anyone’s control, we can no longer get what we need from those we love, or give them the things they most want from us. In exquisite prose, Maya Shanbhag Lang writes about her extraordinary mother and the cruel circumstances that complicate their relationship. At its heart, this is a book about one of the greatest gifts any parent can give a child: the power to save yourself.”—Will Schwalbe, New York Times bestselling author of The End of Your Life Book Club and Books for Living “In What We Carry, Maya Shanbhag Lang has created a gorgeous memoir about mothers, daughters, and the tenacity of the love that grows between what is said and what is left unspoken.”—Mira Jacob, author of Good Talk   “Maya Shanbhag Lang thought she knew her capable physician-mother and her story. But when Alzheimer’s hits her mother early, Lang found herself adrift in a sea of unwelcome truths and ambiguous loss. In this searingly honest, beautifully written memoir, Lang chronicles her journey as she revises her illusions of the past and becomes a larger-hearted, more accepting, and generous version of herself. Anyone who has ever struggled with a fraught mother-daughter relationship will enjoy this book. Those who face the ordeal of caregiving, with all its love, loss, and unexpected gifts, will be inspired. My heart opened reading this extraordinary memoir.”—Katy Butler, author of the New York Times bestsellers Knocking on Heaven’s Door and The Art of Dying Well   “What We Carry is a wise, tender, and unswervingly honest memoir that reads like a mystery. With emotional precision and detective-like clarity, Maya Shanbhag Lang investigates the many ways in which we all participate in the often-painful mythology of a family. As thrillingly, Lang’s ultimate revelation is a hopeful one, reminding us that we are stronger than we think.”—Christopher Castellani, author of Leading Men

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