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FICTION/Albert Elisa
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Subjects
Published
Boston : Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2015.
Language
English
Physical Description
196 pages ; 22 cm
ISBN
9780544273733
0544273737
Main Author
Elisa Albert, 1978- (-)
Review by Booklist Reviews

A year after giving birth to her son, Ari is struggling to find her way in the world of mothering. Sleepless nights and long, taxing days leave her exhausted and suffering from depression. She no longer fits in with the academic crowd she and her husband once called theirs, but she is not comfortable with most other mothers, either. Already lonely, she is left feeling even more bereft when her only two friends go away for a year. That changes when she meets the woman who is subletting their apartment. Mina is older and more self-assured, and she's nine months pregnant. The two women strike up a friendship, and when Mina's son is born, they find in each other the support they need to get through those tough early years. Irreverent, hilarious, and honest, Albert's newest novel loudly decries the isolation of new mothers in today's world. Her opinionated protagonist is sympathetic, if not entirely likable, and will pull readers along on her journey toward a new normal with great humor and wit. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Albert (The Book of Dahlia) applies a blistering tone to modern motherhood in this cri de coeur of a novel. Six-months-pregnant Ari couldn't wait to leave Brooklyn for the faded glory of Utrecht, N.Y., and its affordable four-bedroom Italianate with her supportive professor husband, Paul, 15 years her senior. Now, Ari has one-year-old Walker, a C-section scar, and an unfinished dissertation in women's studies. Faculty life isn't the "deranged orgiastic laser show" she dreamed it would be. About the women in her C-section support group she says, "A chore, trying to talk to these women." So Ari pins her hopes for friendship and connection on Mina Morris, former bass player for the Misogynists, a late-'80s all-girl band. Mina is now a poet who is subletting from Ari's friends while they're on sabbatical. Into this thinly plotted story, Albert interweaves insightful portraits of Ari's extended family, childhood friends, and frenemies. Our sarcastic and self-aware heroine never spares us her anger, her epic takedowns ("It had an addictive flavor, hating her"), and her attempts to parse her own internalized misogyny. In lesser hands, Ari might be unlikable, but Albert imbues her with searing honesty and dark humor, and the result is a fascinating protagonist for this rich novel. (Feb.) [Page ]. Copyright 2014 PWxyz LLC

Review by Publisher Summary 1

After suffering complications during the birth of her son, a new mother has trouble adjusting to the rhythms of her new life even after a year, but discovers a kindred spirit in a new, older pregnant woman who moves to town. 15,000 first printing.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

In snowy upstate New York, Ari, a struggling mother of a one-year-old, and Mina, a nine-months-pregnant woman who is new to town, become comrades-in-arms.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

A widely acclaimed young writer's fierce novel, in which childbirth and new motherhood are as high stakes a proving ground as any combat zoneA year has passed since Ari gave birth to Walker, though it went so badly awry she has trouble calling it 'birth' and still she can't locate herself in her altered universe. Amid the strange, disjointed rhythms of her days and nights and another impending winter in upstate New York, Ari is a tree without roots, struggling to keep her branches aloft.When Mina, a one-time cult musician ' older, self-contained, alone, and nine-months pregnant 'moves to town, Ari sees the possibility of a new friend, despite her unfortunate habit of generally mistrusting women. Soon they become comrades-in-arms, and the previously hostile terrain seems almost navigable.With piercing insight, purifying anger, and outrageous humor, Elisa Albert issues a wake-up call to a culture that turns its new mothers into exiles, and expects them to act like natives. Like Lionel Shriver's We Need to Talk About Kevin and Anne Enright's The Gathering, this is a daring and resonant novel from one of our most visceral writers.

Review by Publisher Summary 4

A widely acclaimed young writer's fierce new novel, in which childbirth and new motherhood are as high-stakes a crucible as any combat zone.

Review by Publisher Summary 5

A widely acclaimed young writer’s fierce novel, in which childbirth and new motherhood are as high stakes a proving ground as any combat zoneA year has passed since Ari gave birth to Walker, though it went so badly awry she has trouble calling it “birth” and still she can't locate herself in her altered universe. Amid the strange, disjointed rhythms of her days and nights and another impending winter in upstate New York, Ari is a tree without roots, struggling to keep her branches aloft.When Mina, a one-time cult musician — older, self-contained, alone, and nine-months pregnant —moves to town, Ari sees the possibility of a new friend, despite her unfortunate habit of generally mistrusting women. Soon they become comrades-in-arms, and the previously hostile terrain seems almost navigable.With piercing insight, purifying anger, and outrageous humor, Elisa Albert issues a wake-up call to a culture that turns its new mothers into exiles, and expects them to act like natives. Like Lionel Shriver’s We Need to Talk About Kevin and Anne Enright’s The Gathering, this is a daring and resonant novel from one of our most visceral writers.