Synopsis: Having a baby to save a marriage—it’s the oldest of clichés. But what if the marriage at risk is a gay one, and having a baby involves a surrogate mother.
Pat Faunce is a faltering romantic, a former poetry major who now writes textbooks. A decade into his relationship with Stu, an airline pilot from a fraught Jewish family, he fears he’s losing Stu to other men—and losing himself in their “no rules” arrangement. Yearning for a baby and a deeper commitment, he pressures Stu to move from Manhattan to Cape Cod, to the cottage where Pat spent boyhood summers.
As they struggle to adjust to their new life, they enlist a surrogate: Debora, a charismatic Brazilian immigrant, married to Danny, an American carpenter. Gradually, Pat and Debora bond, drawn together by the logistics of getting pregnant and away from their spouses. Pat gets caught between loyalties—to Stu and his family, to Debora, to his own potent desires—and wonders: is he fit to be a father?
In one of the first novels to explore the experience of gay men seeking a child through surrogacy, Michael Lowenthal writes passionately about marriages and mistakes, loyalty and betrayal, and about how our drive to create families can complicate the ones we already have. The Paternity Test is a provocative look at the new “family values."
Review: The Paternity Test was an unexpected read for me. Even though the two of the main characters are gay men struggling to start a family, the book is so much more. The love triangle, decision to become a parent, how to gay men become parents, had me wanting to turn the page and keep reading. Lowenthal has a amazing way of telling an unconventional story that draws you in and keeps you guessing how it will end (I didn't guess it!).
Meet the Author: Michael Lowenthal is author of three previous novels: The Same Embrace, Avoidance, and Charity Girl, which was a New York Times Book Review Editors Choice title, aWashington Post Top Fiction of 2007 selection, and a Book Sense Top Twenty Pick. He is a core faculty member in Lesley University's MFA program in creative writing. He lives in Boston, Massachusetts.
Purchase It: You can purchase The Paternity Test online from Amazon for $26.95 (Kindle version $10.67)