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Adoption and Child Separation at the Border

On June 1, 2018 Rebekah Henson published an important thread on Twitter critiquing the hashtags #FamiliesBelongTogether and #Ke...

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Review of Not Only the Things That Have Happened by Mridula Koshy


Mridula Koshy contacted me several months ago, asking if I would review her first novel, Not Only the Things That Have Happened. It is the story of a Indian woman and her son, who is ultimately adopted by a white couple in the U.S., told from the perspective of an omniscient narrator who lets us in on the thoughts of the birth mother, adoptive mother, the son (as a child and as a man), as well as other characters surrounding the central plot.

This is a complicated story, with many twists and turns; adding to the confusion for me was my unfamiliarity with cultural aspects of Kerala, India, where the tale begins. The first half of the book deals with the life of Annakutty, the boy’s mother, though it is not obvious when the book begins that its focus will be on the intertwined lives of her and her son. Koshy’s prose in many ways reads like a mystery unfolding in poetry, which at times is absolutely striking, yet also is somewhat unsatisfying when one wants to get a firm grip on things like timeline and familial relationships.