The Caregiver

The Caregiver

A FALL 2018 HIGHLY ANTICIPATED SELECTION BY * PEOPLE * O, THE OPRAH MAGAZINE * ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY * VULTURE * CHICAGO TRIBUNE * THE MILLIONS * FAST COMPANY * SEATTLE TIMES * ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH * BOOKPAGE * BOOKRIOT * CONDE NAST TRAVELER *

“[A] luminous mother-daughter saga.”—ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY

“Lovely and heartbreaking.”—PEOPLE

“A beautiful testament to [Park’s] extraordinary talents as a storyteller…A ferocious page-turner.”—KIRKUS REVIEWS (STARRED REVIEW)

From the critically acclaimed author of This Burns My Heart comes a gorgeous, emotionally wise tale about a daughter who unearths the hidden life of her enigmatic mother.

Mara Alencar’s mother Ana is her moon, her sun, her stars. Ana, a struggling voice-over actress, is an admirably brave and recklessly impulsive woman who does everything in her power to care for her little girl. With no other family or friends her own age, Ana eclipses Mara’s entire world. They take turns caring for each other—in ways big and small.

Their arrangement begins to unravel when Ana becomes involved with a civilian rebel group attempting to undermine the city's torturous Police Chief, who rules over 1980s Rio de Janeiro with terrifying brutality. Ana makes decisions that indelibly change their shared life. When Mara is forced to escape, she emigrates to California as an undocumented immigrant and finds employment as a caregiver to a young woman dying of stomach cancer. It’s here that she begins to grapple with her turbulent past and starts to uncover vital truths—about her mother, herself, and what it means to truly take care of someone.

Told with vivid imagery and subtle poignancy, The Caregiver is a moving and profound story that asks us to investigate who we are—as children and parents, immigrants and citizens, and ultimately, humans looking for vital connectivity.
  • Simon & Schuster | 
  • 288 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781501178788 | 
  • September 2018
List Price $13.99 (price may vary by retailer)

Read an Excerpt

Hear an Excerpt

Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for The Caregiver includes an introduction, discussion questions, and ideas for enhancing your book club. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.

Introduction

Mara Alencar has been caring for others her entire life. Her mother, Ana, works as a voice-over actress in Brazil, doing various jobs to care for her daughter, but it’s young Mara who supports her mother emotionally. But when Ana becomes desperate for money, she agrees to a job she shouldn’t have taken. The catastrophic results of this fateful decision change everything for Mara irrevocably.

Years later, Mara is living as an undocumented resident of the United States, working as a caregiver for Kathryn, who has been diagnosed with cancer. Her experiences grappling with life and death and caring for someone else remind Mara of what she left behind in Brazil and the ghosts in her past she’s tried so hard to escape.

Topics & Questions for Discussion

1. Mara has been caring for others since a young age—first as a daughter to her mother, Ana, and later as the focus of her profession. How do you think these experiences of looking after others, often before her own welfare, have shaped her?

2. The mother/daughter relatio see more

More Books from this Author

This Burns My Heart

About the Author

Samuel Park
Ryan Bakerink

Samuel Park

Samuel Park was an Associate Professor of Creative Writing at Columbia College Chicago. He graduated from Stanford University and the University of Southern California, where he earned his doctorate. He is the author of the novella Shakespeare’s Sonnets and the writer-director of a short film of the same name, which was an official selection of numerous domestic and international film festivals. He is also the author of the novels This Burns My Heart and The Caregiver. His nonfiction has appeared in The New York Times. Born in Brazil and raised in Los Angeles, he split his time between Chicago and Los Angeles. In April 2017, Samuel Park died of stomach cancer at the age of 41 shortly after finishing The Caregiver. 

BECOME A FAN

Explore

CONNECT WITH US