Today, I’m sharing my review for At the Feet of Mothers by Adnan Mahmutovic, as part of the blog tour organised by Emma Welton of Damppebbles. To read the other reviews, I’ve added the list of the other bloggers below.
Joseph Schneider grows up in a Cherokee-Jewish family in the Smoky mountains of North Carolina. He dreams to be a cook on the biggest ship there is in the world but his attachment to his mother Rachel and his rootedness to the little mountain village keep him from moving on.
When his mother falls ill she reveals she stole him from a Palestinian girl Aliya in the 80s when she volunteered at a hospital in Gaza. Joseph refuses to know anything more about his biological mother, but later when Rachel dies, Joseph honors his promise to her and embarks on a painful pilgrimage to the holy land, a walk in the footsteps of his American mother and a search for Aliya.
Thank you to Emma of Damppebbles for inviting me to join the blog tour. I have to be honest and say that otherwise this book would probably have passed me by.
At the centre of the story is Joseph, who believes that he is an American, with a Cherokee mum and a Jewish dad and twin sisters. However, he discovers during his teenage years that he was actually smuggled out of Gaza and his family aren’t biologically related to him.
Amongst this major storyline, there are more normal family dramas, including a sister moving in with an ‘unsuitable boyfriend’ and refusing to speak to the family, Joseph experiencing his first relationship with a girl and the death of the family dog.
Joseph has to decide whether to try and find Aliya after the death of Rachel, and the latter part of the book details his journey to a part of the world few people would visit.
The book is full of relationships – families, friends, and the kindness of strangers. A fascinating read about a young man trying to come to terms with his true identity.
Adnan Mahmutovic is a Swedish-Bosnian writer. He works at Stockholm University as a lecturer in literature and creative writing. His other major works include a novel Thinner than a Hair (2010), short story collection How to Fare Well and Stay Fair (2012), literary criticism Ways of Being Free (2012) and Future in Comics (2017), and creative writing pedagogy The Craft of Editing (2019).
Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/30C7joe
Amazon US: https://amzn.to/30FHYti
Cinnamon Press: https://bit.ly/2DQ37Ig
Book Depository: https://bit.ly/2DFZswN
Published in paperback and digital formats on 4th May 2020 by Cinnamon Press