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Publisher's Summary

The best-selling, critically acclaimed author of The Space Between Us and The World We Found deftly explores issues of race, class, privilege, and power and asks us to consider uncomfortable moral questions in this probing, ambitious, emotionally wrenching novel of two families - one black, one white.

During a terrible heat wave in 1991 - the worst in a decade - 10-year-old Anton has been locked in an apartment in the projects, alone, for seven days, without air conditioning or a fan. With no electricity, the refrigerator and lights do not work. Hot, hungry, and desperate, Anton shatters a window and climbs out. Cutting his leg on the broken glass, he is covered in blood when the police find him.

Juanita, his mother, is discovered in a crack house less than three blocks away, nearly unconscious and half-naked. When she comes to, she repeatedly asks for her baby boy. She never meant to leave Anton - she went out for a quick hit and was headed right back, until her drug dealer raped her and kept her high. Though the bond between mother and son is extremely strong, Anton is placed with child services while Juanita goes to jail.

The Harvard-educated son of a US senator, Judge David Coleman is a scion of northeastern white privilege. Desperate to have a child in the house again after the tragic death of his teenage son, David uses his power and connections to keep his new foster son, Anton, with him and his wife, Delores - actions that will have devastating consequences in the years to come.

Following in his adopted family's footsteps, Anton, too, rises within the establishment. But when he discovers the truth about his life, his birth mother, and his adopted parents, this man of the law must come to terms with the moral complexities of crimes committed by the people he loves most.

©2017 Thrity Umrigar (P)2017 HarperCollins Publishers

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Engaging and insightful

This novel is engaging, believable, and thought-provoking. I've lived in the North and South, lost a son, then raised another woman's son of a race different than my husband's and mine. I am intrigued at how well the author developed this story without living a similar experience. Her insight is commendable.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Burned through this story of biracial adoption

Compelling story about the complexities of race, class and family that are front and center in the news today. Biracial families and families with adopted children may find new insights in belonging, resilience and privilege.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Compelling read

This book was extraordinary.The characters were engaging and diverse and the plot was full of a range of life experiences.The narrator was excellent.I highly recommend this book.





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  • jk
  • Oregon
  • 07-28-17

Beautiful book.

This is a story about being human, the love of parents, the beauty of children and how important context is in life.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Story of a boy's maturity into manhood

"Know Thyself " is a journey and a destination as revealed by Anton 's story

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Riveting!

Thrity Umrigar captured the reality of race relations in our society with this one... A little disappointed because usually enjoy Josh Bloomberg. His
attempt at African American dialect was implausible at best. Narration kept me from giving 5 stars.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Enjoyed listening to this book.

Good story that caught and maintained my attention. Parts of book were seemingly predictable, only to go in a different direction. Narrator was effective and enjoyable.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • karen
  • Chicago, Il United States
  • 06-29-17

A compelling read!

An interesting plot albeit a tad improbable, but the fabulous audible performance enhanced the story greatly. A wonderful listen!