It is 1998. In the safe haven of her London officea room her husband jokingly calls “The Delivery Room”therapist Mira Braverman listens to the stories of her troubled patients, including an aristocratic woman going through an intense infertility drama, an American journalist who is eager to have a baby, and an irritable divorcé who likes to taunt Mira about her Serbian nationality. As the novel unfolds, Mira discovers she is not as distant from her patients’ pain as she might once have been: her husband Peter struggles with illness, NATO’s threats against her country grow more serious, and submerged truths from her own past seem likely to erupt.
Compelling, complex, and always deeply human, The Delivery Room is an engaging examination of the incomplete understandings that course between therapist and patient, and a set of variations on the theme of motherhoodas well as a timely meditation on the meanings of wars fought from a distance, when ordinary citizens have to measure their personal griefs against the outrages experienced by those under attack.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Mira is a therapist in London, originally from Yugoslavia, married to Peter, an academic, who has a son Graham, the product of a brief relationship from his youth. We meet several of Mira's patients, who are linked in some way to pieces of her real life, although she doesn't know this, nor do the patients. The story is set during the war in Yugoslavia form which Mira fled and her identity as a Serb changes what her patients and others project on to her. Her love for Peter and his for her is very real and very touching - they are real partners. When he is diagnosed with lymphoma and declines rapidly, it is heartbreaking. Paired with his decline is the talk among Mira's patients of babies, trying to have them, getting over a stillbirth, and of Graham's wife Clare and her desire to have child. Brownrigg switched narrators suddenly which I found a bit jarring. I also found the conversations with Svetlana, Mira's sister still in Yugoslavia one of the weaker elements of this book. This was book i liked, not loved.