‘Compelling, elegant and bitingly smart.’ Nell Stevens, author of Briefly, A Delicious Life
A Frankenstein for the twenty-first century by the Dylan Thomas Prize-shortlisted author of Trinity and Speak
A woman begins work on a novel about Mary Shelley while pregnant for the first time. Recently married, she has just moved from New York to Montana.
As the woman writes, fragments of Shelley’s story begin to detach themselves from the page. Moving through her reproductive years, Shelley endured a catalogue of losses painful beyond comprehension. Still, she wrote, conceiving Frankenstein in 1816.
The woman’s experiences of pregnancy, miscarriage and labour are traumatic and disorienting, especially in the context of political upheaval, climate crisis, and an ongoing pandemic. Finally, she gives birth to a daughter and together they emerge into another world.
Then a friend from the past reappears. Anna is a biochemist who has been struggling to become a parent, a scientist who sees everything as an experiment. How far will she go in her desire to bring a baby into being?
Devastating and joyful, elegant and exacting, Reproduction is a powerful reminder of the hazards and the rewards involved in creating new life.
'Compelling, elegant and bitingly smart, Reproduction left me reeling. It is playful and serious, witty and searing, inventive and heart-rending. I utterly loved it.' * Nell Stevens, author of Briefly, A Delicious Life * 'I read this novel in a single rapturous sitting, torn between the desire to hurtle through its hypnotic prose and the desire to reread every perfect sentence. Repro duction exquisitely captures the lunacy of inhabiting an animal body with a human mind, and somehow manages also to be gross, funny, heartrending, and formally acrobatic. Louisa Hall is a singular talent and I am a devotee.' * Melissa Febos, author of Body Work and Girlhood * 'A brave and dynamic novel about the creation of life and art - narratively free, compul sively readable and true to life.' * Tao Lin, author of Leave Society and Taipei * 'What a brilliant novel! I was moved, troubled, enchanted; hardly able to breathe as I read. Hall's dazzling and original tale has the force of myth, embodying the monstrous challenges of reproducing in our strange new world.' * Andrea Barrett, author of Ship Fever and Natural History * 'It's taken me seven years of reading, and about a thousand more books, to be able to say once again: "This is the best book I've ever read." For one thing, Louisa Hall... has perfectly captured the hollow void of grief after the miscarriage of a wanted child...a deeply feeling, deeply observant narrator...When I read this book again in ten years I'll surely be saying to myself: 'Yes, that is exactly how it was.' It's a marvellous gift of a book.' * Claire Oshetsky, author of Chouette * 'What a gift this book is to anyone on the journey to motherhood. So much pain and heartache can surface with this choice, and I'm thankful to Louisa Hall for not shying away from that.' * Szilvia Monar, author of The Nursery * 'Graceful, precise, and perceptive, this is a memorable take on the danger and strangeness of pregnancy.' * Publisher's Weekly * 'This book would be valuable if only for Hall's phantasmagorical depiction of childbirth and her honesty about how lonely mothering can be. But Hall also situates her story in a world in which gene-editing technology and climate change and global pandemics are real. Like Shelley herself, Hall provides readers a text composed of diverse parts, a text that readers can endlessly take apart and stitch back together to create new ideas. Body horror and philosophy commingle in this strange, enthralling novel.' * Kirkus Reviews (starred review) *
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