by Marie Darrieussecq [Translated by Penny Hueston]
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Pub Date 25 Jul 2019 | Archive Date 03 Jul 2019
WINNER, English PEN Award
The Baby is a mother’s project and a writer’s project—how to reconcile these two demanding roles? What is a baby? And why are there so few of them in literature?
Through notes taken in the months after her first child was born, Darrieussecq, in her characteristically ingenious style, makes observations that will bring smiles and grimaces of recognition, and raise important questions.
Along with the banal drudgery of childcare, there is the euphoria, the obsession, the terror and the visceral focus on the body. Arguing with ‘Saint de Beauvoir’, Darrieussecq examines how women as mothers are targeted from all angles. How, she asks, can a woman be more and other than a mother?
'An enchanting book…moving, funny, profound. And never sentimental.'—Madame Figaro
‘Without seeming to, Marie Darrieussecq gives us an example of what literature can achieve. It is a rare thing.’—Humanité
‘Darrieussecq evokes the awe, fear and weirdness of motherhood, the demolition of certainty, an instinct for rapture. She puts her hand in the great dark lake of maternal experience and scoops up filigrees of the phosphorescent memory all mothers share, turns them gleaming in the light of her words, one after another. I was disturbed, envious, enthralled.'—Kate Holden, author of In My Skin
‘Vintage Darrieussecq: tender, disturbing and indelible.’—Chloe Hooper
‘Darrieussecq ruminates on both the magical and trivial ins-and-outs of motherhood and contemplates topical questions around how we define mothers. The book is as much of a must-read for those with children, as it is for those considering whether (or not) to have them.’—Elle
‘There are few writers who may have changed my perception of the world, but Darrieussecq is one of them.’—The Times on Men