The Opposite of Everyone: A Novel

The Opposite of Everyone: A Novel

Language: English

Pages: 320

ISBN: 0062105698

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


A fiercely independent divorce lawyer learns the power of family and connection when she receives a cryptic message from her estranged mother in this bittersweet, witty novel from the nationally bestselling author of Someone Else’s Love Story and gods in Alabama—an emotionally resonant tale about the endurance of love and the power of stories to shape and transform our lives.

Born in Alabama, Paula Vauss spent the first decade of her life on the road with her free-spirited young mother, Kai, an itinerant storyteller who blended Hindu mythology with southern oral tradition to re-invent their history as they roved. But everything, including Paula’s birth name Kali Jai, changed when she told a story of her own—one that landed Kai in prison and Paula in foster care. Separated, each holding secrets of her own, the intense bond they once shared was fractured.

These days, Paula has reincarnated herself as a tough-as-nails divorce attorney with a successful practice in Atlanta. While she hasn’t seen Kai in fifteen years, she’s still making payments on that Karmic debt—until the day her last check is returned in the mail, along with a mysterious note: “I am going on a journey, Kali. I am going back to my beginning; death is not the end. You will be the end. We will meet again, and there will be new stories. You know how Karma works.”

Then Kai’s most treasured secret literally lands on Paula’s doorstep, throwing her life into chaos and transforming her from only child to older sister. Desperate to find her mother before it’s too late, Paula sets off on a journey of discovery that will take her back to the past and into the deepest recesses of her heart. With the help of her ex-lover Birdwine, an intrepid and emotionally volatile private eye who still carries a torch for her, this brilliant woman, an expert at wrecking families, now has to figure out how to put one back together—her own.

The Opposite of Everyone is a story about story itself, how the tales we tell connect us, break us, and define us, and how the endings and beginnings we choose can destroy us . . . and make us whole. Laced with sharp humor and poignant insight, it is beloved New York Times bestselling author Joshilyn Jackson at her very best.

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instincts confirmed, and it was good for Julian to hear all this. He may yet need an intensive ten-­steps-­leading-­up-­to-­hugging workshop before we phase him in. I see the house, number 115, ahead on the right. This redbrick saltine box with black shutters and white trim is the closest thing Hana has to home territory. She has a room here, at any rate. She has a door, and the right to close it behind her. There’s a bright coat of fresh paint working hard to spruce up the sagging porch. Three

footlocker at the back of my walk-­in closet, on the highest shelf, behind my boot boxes. It floated in other bits of wreckage from my disordered childhood: a tarnished anklet made of bells, the antique glass doorknob I stole from Hervé’s house, three strings of Mardi Gras beads. Now it was inside my briefcase. I’d dug it out right before I left to pick up Birdwine. I planned to drop by Kinkos and scan the pages. I wanted a digital copy for myself because I’d decided I should offer the original

Hana was found—­I added, “Making a family is a dangerous business.” He looked up from the kittens at me, clear-­eyed. “If you mean us, it’s not the same thing as this. Not at all. We’re looking for a little kid.” Damn, but the boy was direct. I considered him, poker-faced. Hana would be nothing like the blank slate of a baby, nor would she be a television ten-­year-­old. Real, live preteen girls were time-­consuming, irksome, and difficult at best. I knew, because I’d been one. The specific one

a run-­down barber shop. Two doors down, a thriving drug house did a busy trade. The whole street had an unstable danger vibe I knew well from most chapters of my childhood. Hana would know it, too. As we turned onto Birdwine’s block, I saw that the front door of his house was hanging open. Looper sat in the middle of the patchy front lawn, looking worried and long-­suffering. “Shit! He’s home,” I said, and pulled over to park. I hadn’t expected to see him until tomorrow, at the earliest.

one-­stop pill shop two doors down. The dealer keeps a close eye on the street.” Not only for cops—­sometimes ancient Mrs. Carpenter, who owned the house between them, went wandering down the sidewalk in her bra. Birdwine and the dealer both looked out for her. My explanation did nothing to set Julian at ease, but at least it had gone quiet inside. I waited another minute, then decided to go in. I didn’t want to give Birdwine time to pass out. “You can wait here, if you like.” I boosted off the

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