What We Carry: A Memoir

What We Carry: A Memoir Details

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.

Advance praise for What We Carry

"A dazzling, courageous memoir about the weight we carry as women, daughters, and mothers--and what happens when we let go. Lang takes us deep into the heart of her relationship with her mother, a brilliant psychiatrist and Indian immigrant with long-buried secrets. After a health crisis brings mother and daughter under the same roof for the first time since childhood, Lang grapples with new information about the parent she'd idolized, and realizes it's time to tell the story of her own life. What We Carry is a love letter to everyone who has swum through turbulent water before reaching the shores of selfhood."--Chloe Benjamin, New York Times bestselling author of The Immortalists

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Title:What We Carry: A Memoir
Edition Language:English
Format Type:

    What We Carry: A Memoir Reviews

  • Camelia Rose

    What We Carry is a memoir about the mother-daughter relationship. As a second generation immigrant, Maya Lang always idealized her hardworking, intelligent, psychiatrist mother, but when Maya gave bir...

  • BookOfCinz

    This is what a mother’s love looks like to me. It looks like suffering. There is a story that is referred to a lot Maya Shanbhag Lang’s memoir, What We Carry , it is about a mother crossing a r...

  • Amber

    Digital arc via edelweiss. This is a book I’ll be buying the minute it hits the shelves. I’m never going to be able to do this story justice in a review, but I can say without any hesitation that ...

  • Rebecca

    Maya Lang’s novel The Sixteenth of June* was one of my top three novels of 2014, so I was eager to read her next book, a forthright memoir of finding herself in the uncomfortable middle (the “sand...

  • Nadia

    “Maybe at our most maternal, we aren’t mothers at all. We’re daughters, reaching back in time for the mothers we wish we’d had and then finding ourselves.” What begins as a self-reflected mo...

  • Claudia Silk

    This is a gorgeously written memoir about mothers and daughters. The writing was not only so beautiful but so many things resonated deep within me. Highly recommend for all mothers or daughters. ...

  • Susie Dumond

    "Maybe at our most maternal, we aren't mothers at all. We're daughters, reaching back in time for the mothers we wish we'd had and then finding ourselves."Maya Shanbhag Lang always idolized her mother...

  • Abigail

    I received a complimentary copy of this e-book ARC from the author, publisher and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.What We Carry offers so much – insight into an immigrant experience, Maya...

  • Danielle

    There are so many things I want to say about this stunning memoir by Maya Shanbhag Lang that I don't know where to start. This quote from a story the author's mother tells her seems like a good place ...

  • Wendy

    I won this in a Goodreads giveaway. Thank you, Dial Press/Penguin Random House.What We Carry is an intimate and beautifully written memoir exploring Maya Shanbhag Lang's complicated relationship with ...