The Lost Son
How does a mother survive the unsurvivable? After her husband and the baby’s nurse kidnap her infant son, Nicholas, and take him back to their native Germany, Julia Kruse must completely rebuild her life in America. The Lost Son chronicles Julia’s journey from Depression-Era Queens, NY through World War II as she struggles to provide for herself and her older son, Johannes. Over the years her search for Nicholas is thwarted at every turn, until she falls in love with chauffeur Paul Burns, whose boss might have the political connections that will find her son and bring him home from the German front during the last days of the Third Reich, where Johannes is also fighting for the Allies.
Publisher: Regal House Publishing
Publication Date: March 14, 2022
"The Lost Son is riveting and soulful, an historical family drama of the highest order. A book not only about loss, but about the hopes that keep us going."
- Rebecca Makkai, Pulitzer Finalist for The Great Believers
"The Lost Son begins with such a heart-stopping act of betrayal, it’s almost impossible to imagine a way forward for Julia Kruse, a grieving immigrant mother left to raise her son with an unsympathetic sister. As the story moves between gorgeously rendered 1920s New York and WWII Germany, we watch her son grow up lovingly determined to right the wrong his mother endured, and we mourn as Julia pushes away the life-affirming love affair that comes to her in grief—a love that might just change everything. With language, longing, and passion reminiscent of Elena Ferrante’s My Brilliant Friend, Vanderslice’s novel honors the kinds of people who make terrible things better. It is a story, too, that shows us how the end of longing can mean risking everything all over again."
-Diane Zinna, Author of THE ALL-NIGHT SUN
"The Lost Son is an unflinching look at how one woman, and her two sons, reinvent themselves against a backdrop of violence and violation. Julia is unstoppable as she grapples with her present and her past. The search for her long-lost son, and the fallout resulting from his recovery, produce (to use Julia’s words) a study in 'all the ways love and family can go wrong.' And yet, Julia triumphs. I loved this book." —Benjamin Ludwig, author of Ginny Moon There's a lived-through quality in every detail, an exquisite perfection of tone and emotion, an underlying sense that Stephanie Vanderslice has lavished a lifetime's worth of love and care in order to honor the people and the story of this novel. The Lost Son feels like much more than a novel, to say the truth; it is a piece of someone's heart.
-William Lychack, Cargill Falls
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Stephanie Vanderslice is Professor of Creative Writing and the Director of the Arkansas Writer’s MFA Workshop at the University of Central Arkansas. Her work includes the novel, The Lost Son, and the creative nonfiction guide, The Geek’s Guide to the Writer’s Life: An Instructional Memoir for the Rest of Us, as well as Rethinking Creative Writing in Higher Education, Can Creative Writing Really Be Taught: Resisting Lore in Creative Writing Pedagogy and Teaching Creative Writing the forthcoming, Teaching Creative Writing: A Comprehensive Guide (Bloomsbury) and many others. She was the founding chair of the Creative Writing Studies Organization (creativewritingstudies.com).