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Laura Brown, "Made By Mary" in conversation with Ruth Danon
Desire, Desperation, and Mother-Daughter Family Planning - What Could Go Wrong?
When Mary and Ann agree to a surrogacy partnership everything goes awry. Ann, a pre-school teacher, is desperate for the children she physically can’t have. Mary, a 50-year-old pagan jeweler, hopes to make amends for years of maternal neglect. Together, they plunge into the expensive, morally complex world of reproductive technology and an intimacy neither they, nor Ann’s husband, Joel, is prepared for. Financially hard-pressed, Joel goes behind Ann’s back and agrees to help Mary grow a marijuana crop in her attic. Ann struggles with the rigors and enforced togetherness of the reproductive regime. And Mary’s delight in being a “bountiful earth mother” is offset by the physical ordeal of bearing multiple fetuses. The stakes escalate as the police start sniffing around the grow house, a pagan ritual goes tragically awry, and the pregnancy becomes more perilous, forcing Ann, Joel, and Mary to confront the potentially calamitous consequences of pursuing their deepest desires. Sharp and audacious, Made by Mary is a black comedy using magic realism to blow up myths about women, mothers, and motherhood, where even the most extreme situations are rendered with candor, intelligence, and empathy.
“Laura Catherine Brown is a gifted writer, unafraid to take risks and plunge into difficult emotional terrain. You can’t help but root for her flawed characters as they stumble through the broken world, struggling to realize their dreams. Made By Mary is a wise, tragicomic exploration of the complex ties of family, with a little bit of magic thrown in.”
–Hillary Jordan author of the novels Mudbound(2008) and When She Woke (2011)
Laura Catherine Brown’s second novel, Made By Mary is forthcoming with C&R Press in spring 2018. Her first novel, Quickening, published by Random House, was featured in Barnes & Noble’s Discover Great New Writers series. Her short stories have appeared in several literary journals, including Monkeybicycle, Paragraphiti and Tin House. Her books have come about, in part, because of the great luck she has had in attending residencies at Byrdcliffe, Djerassi, Millay Colony, Ragdale, Ucross, Vermont Studio Center, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. She lives in New York City where she’s currently writing a third novel.