From the winner of the Orange Award for New Writers, an epic novel of childbirth—past, present, and future
The year is 1865. In Vienna, Dr. Ignasz Semmelweiss has been hounded into an asylum by his medical peers, ridiculed for his claim that doctors' unwashed hands are the root cause of childbed fever. In present-day London, Bridget Hughes juggles her young son, husband, and mother as she plans her home birth, unprepared for the trial she is about to endure. Somewhere in 2135, in a world where humans are birthed and raised in breeding farms, Prisoner 730004 is on trial for concealing a pregnancy.
Through three stories spanning centuries, acclaimed novelist Joanna Kavenna explores the most basic plight of women, from the slaughterhouse of primitive medicine to a futurisic vision of technological oppression. Poised at the midpoint is Bridget, whose fervent belief in the wisdom of nature is tested in one of the most gripping accounts of labor to appear in fiction.
Original, powerful, and played out against a vast canvas, The Birth of Love is at once a novel about the creation of human life, science and faith, madness and compromise, and the epic journey of motherhood.
|Publisher:||Holt, Henry & Company, Inc.|
|File size:||253 KB|
About the Author
Joanna Kavenna’s first novel, Inglorious, received the prestigious Orange Award for debut fiction, while The Ice Museum, a work of travel writing, was short-listed for the Ondaatje Prize. Kavenna’s writing has appeared in The New York Review of Books, The Guardian, and The Times Literary Supplement, among other publications. She lives in Oxford, England.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
"The Moon". In 1865 Vienna, obstetrician Professor Ignaz Semmelweis fails in his efforts to find the fundamental cause of deadly childbed fever though he felt sanitary conditions played a major role. He mentally falls apart from depression as the vision of all the women he failed to save visits him in his mind; leading to an asylum. "The Empress". In 2009 London, Brigid Hayes is in severe pain from labor as she is about to give birth to her second child. "The Hermit". Across town from Brigit, failed author Michael Stone finally is published with his work The Moon focusing on Semmelweis. However, he feels overcome with finally making it as a novelist and fearful with what next. "The Tower". In 2153 prisoners 730004, 730005 and 730006 stand trial for treasonous behavior against the Protectors who enforce ultra sanitary conditions on a near extinct humanity. No one is allowed to do anything against the leaders keeping the species safe from itself. Although rotating the stories through two cycles is a distracter even as that technique tries to interconnect the stories, the four well written tales are filled with timely symbolism. The book is filled with irony as those who demand less government in people's lives demand more government in pregnant women's lives. Each entry is solid and loaded with metaphors leading the audience to ponder the roles of do-gooder outsiders directing what pregnant women can do (past, present and future). Harriet Klausner