Her Giant Octopus Moment
When a surrogate mother pretends the pregnancy has miscarried, and bears a daughter, to whom does the child belong? To Joanie, her runaway birth mother, or to her deceived father Ned and his wife, Elisabetta?
Tess Hughes is an embryologist. One of her first cases is Joanie Simpson, who volunteers to be a surrogate for a woman who cannot have her own children. When Joanie is ten weeks pregnant, she informs the clinic that she has lost the baby and doesn't want to try again.
Fast forward eleven years and Tess is collecting her own daughter from a new school when she sees a woman uncannily like Joanie with a daughter, Scout. By alerting the authorities who call Joanie to account, Tess inadvertently sends the pair on the run.
The compelling moral and ethical dilemma that unfolds is gripping, funny and poignant. Joanie is never short on self-justification; Ned and Elisabetta have to come to terms with the shock of what it means to them; and at the heart of it all is Scout, a clever, vulnerable little girl who tries to balance her instinctive wish for order with her love for her mother. Struggling to educate herself as they embark on a nomadic summer, Scout knows nothing of her complex beginnings, and everything is set to change.
'Her Giant Octopus Moment is, to put it at its simplest, an "issue" novel - but how well she does it ... readable, poignant, the novel demonstrates that there are no easy answers or pat formulas, and the author's skill is to woo the reader into empathising with conflicting viewpoints.' Sunday Times
Kay Langdale was born in Coventry. She read English Literature at London University and completed a doctorate on Samuel Beckett at Oxford University. She worked as an account handler and concept writer for a brand development agency, has four children and lives in Oxfordshire with her husband and now teenage family.
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