Reviews for Motherhood

Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

*Starred Review* Heti's (How Should a Person Be?, 2010) novel of a woman pondering what's perhaps life's most essential and most endlessly debatable decision is a provocative, creative, and triumphant work of philosophical feminist fiction. The narrator, in her late thirties, begins writing a new book while in thrall to the question of whether to have a child. As she works, she consults a method inspired by an ancient Chinese divination system, the I Ching, asking questions about these two paths of potential creation and flipping three coins for a yes or no answer to them. (Her first two: Is this book a good idea? yes; Is the time to start it now? yes.) In more narrative sections, the writer explores her relationship with her boyfriend, who's unconflicted in his lack of a desire for a child with her, and with her mother, an accomplished doctor whose mothering angst the narrator recalls acutely and whose sorrow she believes she inherited. As her character seeks and ultimately chooses, as she must, the aspects of life and art she'll lay claim to, Heti writes with courage, curiosity, and uncommon truth: To go along with what nature demands and to resist it both are really beautiful impressive and difficult in their own ways. --Bostrom, Annie Copyright 2018 Booklist

Publishers Weekly
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

The subject of the new novel from Heti (How Should a Person Be?) is neither birth nor child-rearing, but the question of whether to want a child, which the unnamed narrator calls "the greatest secret I keep from myself." To find the answer, she practices techniques cribbed from the I Ching, consults a psychic and Tarot cards, contemplates her mother's experiences as a woman, counts her periods, and considers freezing her eggs. In the meantime, she and her partner, Miles, are going through a rough patch, only partly due to her indecision, which is exacerbated by visits with her friends (all of whom seem to have newborn babies), recurrent and bittersweet fantasies of raising a family, and her knowledge that she is reaching the end of the window when maternity is possible. A book of sex (the real, unsensational kind), mood swings, and deep feminist thought, this volume is essentially a chronicle of vacillating ruminations on this big question. Although readers shouldn't go in expecting clean-cut epiphanies, this lively, exhilaratingly smart, and deliberately, appropriately frustrating affair asks difficult questions about women's responsibilities and desires, and society's expectations. (May) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.