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No Son of Mine

A Memoir

Born and raised in rural West Virginia, Jonathan Corcoran was the youngest and only son of three siblings in a family balanced on the precipice of poverty. His mother, a traditional, evangelical, and insular woman who had survived abuse and abandonment, was often his only ally. Together they navigated a strained homelife dominated by his distant, gambling-addicted father and shared a seemingly unbreakable bond.

When Corcoran left home to attend Brown University, a chasm between his upbringing and his reality began to open. As his horizons and experiences expanded, he formed new bonds beyond bloodlines, and met the upper-middle-class Jewish man who would become his husband. But this authentic life would not be easy, and Corcoran was forever changed when his mother disowned him after discovering his truth. In the ensuing fifteen years, the two would come together only to violently spring apart. As the COVID-19 pandemic raged in 2020, the cycle finally ended when he received the news that his mother had died.

In No Son of Mine, Corcoran traces his messy estrangement from his mother through lost geographies: the trees, mountains, and streams that were once his birthright, as well as the lost relationships with friends and family and the sense of home that were stripped away when she said he was no longer her son. A biography nestled inside a memoir, No Son of Mine is Corcoran's story of alienation and his attempts to understand his mother's choice to cut him out of her life. Through grief, anger, questioning, and growth, Corcoran explores the entwined yet separate histories and identities of his mother and himself.

About the Author

Jonathan Corcoran is the author of The Rope Swing: Stories, which was long-listed for the Story Prize and a Lambda Literary Awards finalist. His essays and stories have been anthologized in Eyes Glowing at the Edge of the Woods: Fiction and Poetry from West Virginia and Best Gay Stories. Corcoran teaches writing at New York University and resides in Brooklyn, New York.

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