Loved this brilliantly claustrophobic tale about a woman struggling with new motherhood. The cover alone is such a powerfully evocative image.
The narrator is suffering from postpartum depression and possibly even psychosis but the author deftly weaves humor into this otherwise very serious tale (“𝘐𝘵’𝘴 𝘵𝘪𝘮𝘦 𝘵𝘰 𝘰𝘱𝘦𝘯 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘮𝘪𝘭𝘬 𝘣𝘢𝘳.”) Before giving birth, the narrator worked as a translator and fantasizes about returning to her old life, and to her old self. And yet she can’t seem to leave the small apartment she shares with her husband.
The fears of I think most new parents are laid bare in this
sharply written story. Who wasn’t afraid to take their newborn home from the hospital? (“𝘠𝘰𝘶’𝘳𝘦 𝘨𝘰𝘰𝘥 𝘵𝘰 𝘨𝘰 𝘩𝘦 𝘴𝘢𝘺𝘴 𝘭𝘪𝘬𝘦 𝘢 𝘧𝘭𝘪𝘨𝘩𝘵 𝘢𝘵𝘵𝘦𝘯𝘥𝘢𝘯𝘵 𝘤𝘩𝘦𝘤𝘬𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘮𝘦 𝘪𝘯 𝘢𝘵 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘤𝘰𝘶𝘯𝘵𝘦𝘳, 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘩𝘦 𝘭𝘦𝘵𝘴 𝘮𝘦 𝘬𝘯𝘰𝘸 𝘸𝘦 𝘴𝘩𝘰𝘶𝘭𝘥 𝘣𝘦 𝘰𝘶𝘵 𝘣𝘺 𝘦𝘭𝘦𝘷𝘦𝘯 𝘢.𝘮. 𝘐𝘧 𝘰𝘯𝘭𝘺 𝘐 𝘸𝘢𝘴 𝘢𝘵 𝘢 𝘯𝘪𝘤𝘦 𝘩𝘰𝘵𝘦𝘭, 𝘐 𝘸𝘰𝘶𝘭𝘥 𝘤𝘢𝘭𝘭 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘧𝘳𝘰𝘯𝘵 𝘥𝘦𝘴𝘬 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘥𝘦𝘭𝘢𝘺 𝘮𝘺 𝘤𝘩𝘦𝘤𝘬𝘰𝘶𝘵. 𝘏𝘰𝘸 𝘢𝘣𝘰𝘶𝘵 𝘴𝘪𝘹 𝘮𝘰𝘯𝘵𝘩𝘴 𝘧𝘳𝘰𝘮 𝘯𝘰𝘸.”)
While the narrator seems to slowly lose her grip on reality, she describes her postpartum recovery in almost ghastly detail. This book is not for the faint of heart but I found it to be an insightful and very intense glimpse into a darker side of motherhood.
(𝘐 𝘳𝘦𝘤𝘦𝘪𝘷𝘦𝘥 𝘢 𝘤𝘰𝘮𝘱𝘭𝘪𝘮𝘦𝘯𝘵𝘢𝘳𝘺 𝘤𝘰𝘱𝘺 𝘰𝘧 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘴 𝘣𝘰𝘰𝘬 𝘧𝘳𝘰𝘮 𝘗𝘢𝘯𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘰𝘯 𝘉𝘰𝘰𝘬𝘴 𝘵𝘩𝘳𝘰𝘶𝘨𝘩 𝘕𝘦𝘵𝘎𝘢𝘭𝘭𝘦𝘺. 𝘈𝘭𝘭 𝘰𝘱𝘪𝘯𝘪𝘰𝘯𝘴 𝘢𝘳𝘦 𝘮𝘺 𝘰𝘸𝘯.)
About the Book:
A debut novel from a remarkable new talent: a visceral and revelatory portrait of a woman struggling with maternal fear and its looming madness, showing how difficult and fragile those postpartum days can be, and how vital love is to pull anyone out from the dark
There is the before and the after. Withering in the maternal prison of her apartment, a new mother finds herself spiraling into a state of complete disaffection. As a translator, she is usually happy to spend her days as the invisible interpreter. But now home alone with her newborn, she is ill at ease with this state of perpetual giving, carrying, feeding. The instinct to keep her baby safe conflicts with the intrusive thoughts of causing the baby harm, and she struggles to reclaim her identity just as it seems to dissolve from underneath her.
Feeling isolated from her supportive but ineffectual husband, she strikes up a tentative friendship with her ailing upstairs neighbor, Peter, who hushes the baby with his oxygen tank in tow. But they are both running out of time; something is soon to crack. Joyful early days of her pregnancy mingle with the anxious arrival of the baby, and culminate in a painful confrontation—mostly, between our narrator and herself. Striking and emotive, The Nursery documents the slow process of staggering back towards the simple pleasures of life and reentering the world after post-partum depression.