The Book of the Unnamed Midwife (Road to Nowhere Series #1)

The Book of the Unnamed Midwife (Road to Nowhere Series #1)

by Meg Elison


$13.46 $14.95 Save 10% Current price is $13.46, Original price is $14.95. You Save 10%.
View All Available Formats & Editions
Choose Expedited Shipping at checkout for guaranteed delivery by Wednesday, September 25


A Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2016 and Philip K. Dick Award Winner

When she fell asleep, the world was doomed. When she awoke, it was dead.

In the wake of a fever that decimated the earth’s population—killing women and children and making childbirth deadly for the mother and infant—the midwife must pick her way through the bones of the world she once knew to find her place in this dangerous new one. Gone are the pillars of civilization. All that remains is power—and the strong who possess it.

A few women like her survived, though they are scarce. Even fewer are safe from the clans of men, who, driven by fear, seek to control those remaining. To preserve her freedom, she dons men’s clothing, goes by false names, and avoids as many people as possible. But as the world continues to grapple with its terrible circumstances, she’ll discover a role greater than chasing a pale imitation of independence.

After all, if humanity is to be reborn, someone must be its guide.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781503939110
Publisher: Amazon Publishing
Publication date: 10/11/2016
Series: Road to Nowhere Series , #1
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 291
Sales rank: 108,734
Product dimensions: 8.20(w) x 5.50(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Meg Elison is a high school dropout and a graduate of UC Berkeley. Her debut novel, The Book of the Unnamed Midwife, won the 2014 Philip K. Dick Award. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area and writes like she’s running out of time.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

The Book of the Unnamed Midwife 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Shawscribbles More than 1 year ago
This book was really different than what I usually read. First, it's not a YA novel but an adult dystopian. At first I wasn't sure if I was going to stick with it but I'm glad I did. The futuristic world is bleak and the people the midwife encounters are those that live in the extremes. This was almost a cross between The Handmaid's Tale (the book) and The Walking Dead (the TV series) for me. The nameless main character can't stay in one place long, nor does she seem to want to. As we follow her through her new life in this decimated world, we slowly unravel what her life was like before, what happened to her and the planet, and what kind of future she might have. A unique read.
Silk-Serif More than 1 year ago
I am a huge fan of the post-apocalyptic genre, so when I saw The Book of The Unnamed Midwife on NetGalley I was intrigued. A novel that follows a nurse the initial days after an apocalyptic event that kills a large portion of the female gender. In the days following the apocalypse women become property to men and it is revealed that no pregnancies render living children. As humanity struggles to overcome the loss of civilization, they also now must face a future without the ability to have children. I appreciated what this novel tried to do by bringing feminism to the apocalypse. The supreme maltreatment of women and the moral ambiguity of a society without civilization was an interesting addition to a traditional tale of survival that has saturated the literary market. The Book of the Unnamed Midwife is a tale about an average woman in an extraordinary world. Although a short novel of only 190 pages, the midwife goes through many different experiences: discovering her own weaknesses, saving women from horrific situations and realizing that helping others is more important than making herself happy. This is a novel about self discovery as much as it is about feminism and the fall of civilization. I did not love how sexual the book became approximately half way through, with some behaviours by the main character that she doesn't seem to really feel all that bad about. She hurts others, including women, but then continues on her crusade to save people. Some of the events in the novel were unbelievable, but served the purpose of creating a world that is very much unlike our own. Personally, I found this book to be a satisfactory read. I loved that the author tried to make this book more than just a typical apocalyptic novel and inject some deeper meaning into the main character's experiences. The Book of the Unnamed Midwife is about individuality as much as it is about the human condition. This book will appeal to readers who enjoy post-apocalyptic novels, feminist literature, tales about self-discovery and flawed female leads. I would not recommend this to readers who are sensitive to rape literature or literature with an uncomfortable level of description of abuse scenes. Review copy provided by 47North in exchange for an unbiased review.
SheTreadsSoftly More than 1 year ago
The Book of the Unnamed Midwife by Meg Elison is a very highly recommended plague/post-apocalyptic novel that held my rapt attention from start to finish. Society has fallen apart. A disease, a plague of Biblical proportions, has stricken the world. It’s likely autoimmune, but nothing seems to stop it: "No antibiotic. No interferon. No anti-inflammatory, no sedative, no emetic, nothing. Nothing touches this once it starts." This has resulted in the death of 98% of the world's men, but it has been even more devastatingly fatal to women and children. It seemingly targets women and children. Childbirth is deadly for both mother and baby, but always for the baby. An unnamed woman, a labor and delivery nurse in San Francisco who toiled in vain to try to save women and babies during the height of the plague before she became ill, wakes up in the hospital, alive, with no survivors around her. She knows who she is, where she is, and that she has survived the illness, but has no idea how long she was sick or what day it is. She makes it home, realizing that the world has changed since her illness. The first person she encounters is a man who breaks into her apartment that first night and tries to brutally rape her. "When the sirens quit, the rules gave out. Some people had been waiting their whole lives to live lawlessly, and they were the first to take to the streets. Some people knew that would happen; they knew better than to open their doors when they heard cries of help. Others didn’t. What disease cannot do, people accomplish with astonishing ease." Our heroine quickly learns that being a woman is a dangerous proposition in this new world where women are very rare and are captured to become sex slaves for gangs of men. Even men who might be allies don't want a woman with them because it makes them targets for the gangs who aren't as civilized. She makes the life-saving decision to shave her head, wear a chest binder, and dress like a man. When she meets anyone, she gives them a false name. We never learn her real name, which she guards closely, a secret piece of her that she keeps to herself. She finds a gun and arms herself, which wasn't easy in California. Because of her experiences as a nurse, she collects medical supplies, especially birth control because if she meets any women this can save their lives. As she makes her way north and then east, she sees women chained as slaves, used as a commodity (sex) for trading goods, and brutally used and abused by their captors. She has to kill men trying to capture her. Long portions of her time are spent alone, although she saved and travel with another woman for a while. She meets some survivors. Most importantly is that she manages to stay alive in this new world. The novel is partly written as journal entries, and as such the language is very informal, just as it would be if you were writing something for yourself. In the opening we know that young scribes in the future are being charged with making a copy of this journal, so it is startling to see the stark difference between the formal language in the opening followed by the language of the journal entries. The Book of the Unnamed Midwife is a gritty, harsh, raw story. Elison tells it like it would very likely be in this scenario. Nothing is sugar coated. There are no safe places for a woman. If you have ever felt that society tends toward the misogynistic now, then this is what happens when there are no filters or restraints.
Candace-LoveyDoveyBooks More than 1 year ago
Meg Elison delivers an intense novel in speculative fiction. The Book of the Unnamed Midwife walks readers through a woman's treacherous journey through a country devastated by an unstoppable virus and a major, worldwide loss of women. Ellison first released this story in 2014 so I had no idea what I'd be getting into, but once I reached the halfway point I knew there was no giving up on this story. Through journal entries and omnipresent narration Elison tells the beginning of the end of the world and the midwife's determination to survive. The first half of the book is slightly difficult to get into as readers are slowly introduced to the new world that the midwife wakes to. However, it is an absolutely fundamental part of the plot to help readers understand the midwife's choices and recognize the shape this world has taken. The payoff for making it through the first half comes when the midwife reaches Utah and settles down for the winter. This is the point of the novel where my reading became feverish in the need to know what path the story would take from here, because it was going in a surprising direction. There are a number of characters throughout the story that add flavor and keep the tone of the novel from seeming too grim and hopeless. The Book of the Unnamed Midwife is a read that cannot be overlooked. From the thought-provoking setting to the determined lead character, there's a little something for everyone. I'm keeping my eye out for the sequel, The Book of Etta to further see how the unnamed midwife's knowledge impacted this world. *eGAlley provided in exchange for an honest review* Originally posted on Lovey Dovey Books
brf1948 More than 1 year ago
I received a free electronic copy of this si-fi novel from Netgalley, Meg Elison, and 47North in exchange for an honest review. Thank you, for sharing your work with me. I generally prefer not to read dystopian novels, but this one called out to me from the description at Netgalley. It is an excellent tale, told in a very original style that grabs you fast and keeps you reading. It takes place in places we are familiar with, peopled by folks we already know well, if only by type. Though the first of a series, it is complete in and of itself. I am eager to read what comes next. It is a book I would refer to anyone who loves a well told tale with heros you can admire and a conclusion that is promising.
onemused More than 1 year ago
"The Book of the Unnamed Midwife" is a set of diaries which is being preserved in the aftermath of the apocalypse. They are written by a nurse who survived an autoimmune disease plague that killed 98% of the men in the world and about 99% of women, leaving a 10:1 male to female ratio. Misogyny and sexism is at an all time high. Men are roaming in gangs and capturing/raping women. Women are used as items for trade. Pregnancies often result in death, always for the baby and often for the mother. The unnamed midwife travels dressed as a man after waking into this world and being faced with the unfortunate realties. She tries to help women that she meets along the way with birth control. Due to a (sketchy) radio broadcast, people are heading south. She goes north. Her name is never given, and she goes by different names in different places. This is not an easy book to read- it's hard and tragic and horrifying. It's an intensely written book which imagines the horror of such a post-apocalyptic world for you. Here, the apocalypse/extinction event has brought out the very worst in people. Well, the vast majority of people. There is a message of hope at the end of book, at least. Regardless, it's well written and not too difficult to imagine that all of this could be plausible, as much as we want to believe in the kindness of humanity. At different stages of evolution, this was pretty much the norm. It's not a book to be read lightly but it is a fascinating book about humanity and our potential for good and for the worst. Please note that I received this book from the publisher through netgalley in exchange for my honest review.