Arts and Culture

My father has always been disappearing from my life.

The first time he did so was right after my teenage mother told him she was pregnant with me.

Over the next few years, he would suddenly reappear and disappear. It was never in person, but through telephone calls and letters across the ocean from his home in Trinidad and Tobago to mine in Barbados. His "here today, gone tomorrow" routine made for a rocky relationship between us; my mother, Victoria, raised me as a single parent.

It would take almost a quarter-century before we met in person.

A slim mahogany-colored cow, Dolly was an attentive mother to her first four offspring, all boys, at Kite's Nest farm in Worcestershire, England.

Then Dolly II, a pale-colored girl, was born and became the recipient of that bovine love.

In The Secret Life of Cows, published this week in the U.S. by Penguin Press, farmer Rosamund Young tells the story of what happened when Dolly II grew up and gave birth herself.

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