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In a Country of Mothers


In the conflicted, unnerving world of possibilities fostered by A.M. Homes's powerful imagination, two women of tremendous magnetism discover a tie that binds them—the intimacy that exists between therapist and patient—until it threatens to undo them both. And as their relationship begins to extend beyond the allotted "fifty-minute hour," what has started out as simple counsel and friendship develops into excess of the most moving, and frightening, kind.

For Claire Roth, a capable, established psychotherapist with an adoring husband and children no more alienated than normal, her new patient Jody Goodman—a witty and attractive young filmmaker—is a welcome diversion from a routine at once comfortable and predictable. Jody, successful yet uncertain about living apart from her adoptive parents for the first time, is disarmed by Claire's interest and approval. Gradually, for these two—exactly the right ages to be mother and daughter—the lines between friendship and family, between love and compulsion, begin to lose their focus. Every strong motivation they share—a belief in family, a desire to shape their own destinies and, possibly, to contend with a distant and suppressed past—could also unbalance them . . . especially when one of them starts to believe fanatically that some things simply cannot be coincidences, and that what they share, in fact, is the deepest bond of all. In a Country of Mothers is a transfixing literary and psychological thriller that questions such bedrock assumptions as the confidence we place in family, in healers, in all those we know, care about, and trust with our secrets. In its alarming climactic moments, all the more terrifying for the familiarity of their setting, A.M. Homes forces us to confront our own judgments about sanity, danger, and desire.

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