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Peter Papathanasiou

Son of Mine

Son of Mine


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Son of Mine is a beautiful, multi-layered account of what it means to be a family. Peter Papathanasiou successfully intertwines two life journeys – his own and his mother’s – over the course of nearly a hundred years, to tell the story of an astonishing act of kindness, and an incredible secret kept hidden for two decades.

This exceptional memoir sensitively documents the migrant experience, both from the unfamiliar perspective of first-generation migrants and the tension felt by the second-generation trapped between two cultures. At its core, Son of Mine is about the search for identity – for what it means to be who you are when everything is torn down and questioned, and the wisdom we can pass on to the next generation.

Son of Mine is a compelling account of unknown heritage, of life gifts and losses, and the reclamations of parenting. It is dramatic, poignant and uplifting. But above all, it is a memoir of shock, discovery and reconciliation, all delivered in exquisite prose.

Praise for this Book

Son of Mine is an engrossing account of two lives and how choices made years previously can ricochet down through the generations. This captivating memoir considers what it means to be a parent in the widest sense.’ —Claire Fuller

‘A beautifully written and incredibly moving book. The humanity, love, loss, and the compelling search for identity shine out from the pages. I loved it.’ —Kate Hamer

Son of Mine is absorbing and beautifully written, telling an ultimately uplifting story about heredity, family and home.’ —Alison Moore

‘Reveal a secret too soon and its meaning is lost on the listener; reveal it too late and all that has been carefully built upon it can fall in an instant. In Son of Mine, a richly moving and elegant memoir that tracks between the open spaces of Australia and a small town enclosed by mountains in northern Greece, Pete Papathanasiou writes with powerful verve of the explosive secret concealed at the centre of his life until he's already in his mid-twenties. Its sudden and unsettling disclosure forces him to reconsider everything he thought he knew about himself, his history and his heritage. What follows is a beautiful and cathartic story of love and loss, deftly charting the upheavals of the migrant experience and the raw struggles and redemptive emotional depths of a family scattered between two continents. The real revelation of his writing isn’t the unveiling of the secret, though, but rather his ability to journey with unflinching honesty through a world that is both seemingly the same and yet utterly changed for him. In this poignant and illuminating search for understanding, he discovers the deepest and most resolute of ties that bind human lives, and has created a book equal in grace to the astonishing act of kindness he uncovers at the very heart of his family.’ —Julian Hoffman

‘With the patient perfectionism of the geneticist, Peter Papathanasiou reveals the tantalising story of his own life. Shifting between both nations and generations, this exquisitely told narrative is a hymn to the love and self-sacrifice of a brother for his sister, of three brothers for each other, and is a portrait of an extraordinary family.’ —Katharine Norbury

Reviews of this Book

‘Aged 24, Peter Papathanasiou was summoned to his mother’s bedroom and told he was adopted. This kickstarts a search for identity that echoes across decades and continents as the author moves between his mother’s life in Greece and Australia. Though this is a unique family history, there’s something universal about this affecting memoir, particularly when Papathanasiou becomes a parent himself. The writing is graceful but never portentous, filling this debut with heart and meaning.’ —Ben East, Observer

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