The Lauras | Penguin Random House Canada

The Lauras

A Novel

Publisher: Bond Street Books
From critically acclaimed and Baileys Prize-nominated author Sara Taylor comes a dazzling new novel about youth, identity and family secrets.

I didn't realize my mother was a person until I was thirteen years old and she pulled me out of bed, put me in the back of her car, and we left home and my dad with no explanations. I thought that Ma was all that she was and all she had ever wanted to be. I was wrong.

     As we made our way across North America, returning to the places where she'd lived as a kid in foster care and as a teenager on the run, repaying debts and keeping promises, I learned who she was in her life-before-me and the secrets she had kept--even from herself. But when life on the road began to feel normal I couldn't forget the home we'd left behind, couldn't deny that, just like my mother, I too had unfinished business.
     The Lauras is an extraordinary, propulsive story and a stunning exploration of the relationship between a mother and a child. From the green foothills of Tennessee to the swamps of Mississippi, and the bright lights of Las Vegas to the forests of Vancouver Island, this novel is absorbing and intimate, told by a significant voice in literary fiction.


A Guardian Best Book of 2016

"This beautifully unfolding road-trip tale [focuses] on the fluidity of relationships between parent and offspring as they find some inner peace on the highways and back roads of America." —Toronto Star

"The writer's clear-eyed, honest portrayal of the nuances of sexuality in general is striking. She demonstrates the relationship between our mind and our bodies, our desires bound up with ancient memories and triggers. . . . This book describes the lifestyles and realities of those at the bottom of the economic pile with great empathy, giving complexity and dignity to those often ignored or caricatured." —New York Journal of Books

"[Taylor has] been compared to authors like Margaret Atwood, David Mitchell, James Baldwin and Jennifer Egan—but even without such impressive praise, Sara Taylor's second novel, The Lauras, isn't one you'll want to miss. . . . The Lauras is an epic road-trip of a novel, featuring an agender teen named Alex and Alex's wanderlusting mother, aka: Ma. Transporting readers through a series of makeshift apartments, southern truck stops, Appalachian mom-and-pop shops, Florida surfing towns and finally to California, Taylor's novel is deeply rooted in place—and that place is vividly small-town America." —Bustle

"Sara Taylor's affecting novel is about lives unmoored from convention and security, and its narrator, Alex, is a gender-fluid teenager whose mother uproots them one day without warning. The character's voice propels us forward, and Taylor's portrait of a burgeoning sensual 'creature' is both familiar and wonderfully alien. That Alex never tells us what gender s/he came into the world as is a mystery that messes with our preconceptions in instructive ways." —Huffington Post

"As for the book we just couldn't put down: That would be The Lauras, by award-winning writer Sara Taylor, who gives the road trip narrative a new spin that seriously breathes new life back into the overall genre. . . . A fascinating portrait of a coming-of-age and the characters encountered along the way, The Lauras is road trip narrative that refreshes the genre for 2017." —Refinery29

"If road trips transport you, jump into Sara Taylor's dazzling novel The Lauras, about a mother and gender-fluid child discovering each other." —Elle

"Alex's ambiguous, aching forays into the realms of sexuality and human relations speak to universal truths about trust as well as lust. . . . Taylor gives her narrator a singular voice and dares the world to listen." —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

"Taylor packs vastly observed stories of mothers, children and memory into her impressive second novel." —Booklist

"Sara Taylor's The Lauras just persuaded me even more that Taylor is a writer of real gravitas and potency. It feels, to read her, uncannya bit reminiscent of reading early Atwood three decades ago. She's a writer whose talent, a fusion of sure-footed, calm and uncompromising, is both quiet and prodigious." Ali Smith

"Elegiac and beautifully observed. . . . Taylor has a great ear for language, with the kind of sentences that make you pause and read a second time. . . . It is such acute observations of her imaginary world that saw Taylor's debut novel, The Shore, longlisted for the Baileys prize, and it should be no great surprise to find her second novel following in its footsteps." Hannah Beckerman, The Observer (UK)

"Taylor's sense of place is one of her greatest strengths. She writes about versions of America that few outsiders ever see. . . . The Lauras is a road movie of a novel. . . . A fine achievement, engrossing, original and eloquent, and Taylor has more than fulfilled the promise of The Shore." —Helen Dunmore, The Guardian (UK)

"The Lauras is many types of book: it is a road trip book, a coming-of-age tale, a mother-child story; it is full of ghosts and yearning and sacrifice and discovery. Taylor's language is beautiful, the sentences almost showy and Alex's observations . . . are unusual, funny and revealing of both Alex's inner world of and the world at large. . . . It's a brave book, unafraid of itself, diving into waters often left unexplored in contemporary stories. The relentless pull of the road, and of Ma's ghosts, carries The Lauras all the way through to its conclusion." —Lambda Literary Review

"Exceptionally moving. . . . Taylor’s prose is remarkable; both intense and expansive, both precise and wonderfully sfumato. . . . A joy." —The Scotsman (UK)

"Sara Taylor is a writer with a strong sense of place … [The Lauras is] a work that looks to combine the epic sweep of America with an intimate study of a mother and her child. . . . The journey Taylor takes us on is often assured, interesting and full of poise." —Sunday Times (UK)

"A beautiful, irreverent meditation of self, sexuality and growing up. On each stop of the trip is a woman named Laura. Each has played a part in Alex's mother's fractured past, and together they reveal how many people we sometimes need to make a love story." Heather O'Neill

"[A] beautifully unfolding road-trip tale." —Metro 

"Sara Taylor is a formidable storyteller and her prose is forthright and her characters unforgettable. This deeply beautiful novel is also a necessary novel." —Washington Book Review