‘A response – finally – to the new norms of femininity’ Rachel Cusk
Having reached an age when most of her peers are asking themselves when they will become mothers, Heti’s narrator considers, with the same urgency, whether she will do so at all. Over the course of several years, under the influence of her partner, body, family, friends, mysticism and chance, she struggles to make a moral and meaningful choice.
In a compellingly direct mode that straddles the forms of the novel and the essay, Motherhood raises radical and essential questions about womanhood, parenthood, and how – and for whom – to live.
‘Likely to become the defining literary work on the subject’ Guardian
‘Courageous, necessary, visionary’ Elif Batuman
‘Quietly affecting… As concerned with art as it is with mothering’ Sally Rooney
‘Groundbreaking in its fluidity’ Spectator
**A Daily Telegraph, Financial Times, Irish Times, Refinery29, TLS and The White Review Book of the Year **
Earthy and philosophical and essential . . . Motherhood floats, as did Heti's excellent novel How Should a Person Be?, somewhere between fiction and nonfiction. It reads like an inspired monologue . . . Heti's semi-fiction, like that of writers like Ben Lerner, Rachel Cusk and Teju Cole, among others, is dismantling our notions of what a novel should be . . . She deals out her ideas in no-nonsense form, as if she were pulling espresso shots . . . This book is endlessly quotable, and a perfect review would be nothing but quotations. She makes a banquet of her objections to parenthood. If you are an underliner, as I am, your pen may go dry . . . Indeed, Heti always seems to be drawing from a paranormally deep well . . . Funny . . . Cannily employed. -- Dwight Garner * The New York Times * Sheila Heti's book seems likely to become the defining literary work on the subject, perhaps most of all because as a novel, replete with ambiguity and contradiction, it refuses to define anything, and certainly not the childlessness that provides its subject or the motherhood that provides its title. -- Lara Feigel * Guardian * Motherhood confronts the philosophical questions raised by childbearing and womanhood... Heti continues the project of How Should a Person Be? in at least one way: by opening out seemingly individual experiences into a general inquiry about ways of being...as concerned with art as it is with mothering... Heti's narrator wants to create - specifically, to create something that will honour the memory of her mother and grandmother... Motherhood both documents that desire and fulfils it. -- Sally Rooney * London Review of Books * My favorite books this year were Keith Gessen's A Terrible Country and Sheila Heti's Motherhood. Both books are brave and funny reckonings with impossible situations and both grapple with ethical questions in a human and transparent way... Heti dramatises a question lived by nearly every first-world person. At the same time, she demonstrates the contradictions between freedom and the tyranny of choice and how impossible it is for anyone to ever make the 'right' decision. -- Chris Kraus * The White Review Books of the Year * Heti thinks clearly and originally -- Adam Kirsch * Times Literary Supplement, **Books of the Year** *
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