The Last Conception
Melange Books, Jun 21 2014, $12.95
Davidia and Mira Sikand pressure their single daughter Savarna to have a child because the spiritual progeny from their late founding cult leader must not die out and she is the last survivor able to conceive. Savarna has no male prospects to sire a baby with her since unknown by her parents she is gay and thus has romantic relationships with females only.
As the embryologist looks into the instinct for the strong need to belong to a family including procreating and what a family connotes, Savarna realizes she wants a monogamous relationship with Charley who reciprocates her love; they agree on raising a child that Savarna will birth. Thus she tells her family she is gay and plans a life with a woman. Her India-American parents accept Charley, but remain adamant that they need a biological grandchild. Desperate, her grandmother arrives from India to persuade Savarna that she must give birth or thousands of years of heritage will expire with her. When artificial insemination fails, the female couple decides to adopt, which alienates Savarna with her family who demand she keep trying.
This is a fascinating look at what a family is and why people need to belong and feel accepted by caring social groups (Maslow’s Hierarchy’s third tier). Though why the intelligent Savarna knows so little about her family’s cult lineage until the demands begin is unsatisfactory explained, she drives the intriguing storyline as she tries to please her extended family (including the cult members), her mate and ultimately herself.